Building with the Community

Diébédo Francis Kéré, Grundschule in Gando, Burkina Faso, Afrika


We in Europe know very little about contemporary architecture in African countries. An exhibition headed by three German architectural historians at the Munich Pinakothek der Moderne aimed to change this. A number of African countries are currently witnessing numerous innovative architectural approaches, especially with respect to social building projects. These are generally characterised by new usage and construction concepts for all types of public and community buildings, e.g. schools, kindergartens, market structures, clinics, cultural centres, sports facilities and meeting rooms. In many cases, the future beneficiaries are directly involved in the planning and building process. Although the building projects make use of the latest technologies, many of them are developed with local materials and revive forgotten building traditions. In its exhibition “Afritecture – Building with the Community”, the Museum of Architecture at the TU Munich emphasised those projects initiated by architects, whose concepts possess a global scope but incorporate the local culture and the needs of single groups of society. By considering environmental, economic and social aspects, these architects have developed sustainable solutions, which the exhibition presented based on 28 projects in ten countries in sub-Saharan Africa, such as Kenya, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and South Africa. The buildings were all completed before the start of the 21st century and were planned by African, European and American architects.

The project was accompanied by an extensive programme comprised of lectures and a two-day symposium (14-15 November), which examined the central aspects of the exhibition such as urbanisation in Africa, participation and architectural identity. A German and English edition of a catalogue was published by the Hatje Cantz Verlag.

Artistic directors: Andres Lepik, Anne Schmidt, Simone Bader
Architects: Emilio Caravatti (IT,ML), Kéré Architecture (BF), NLÉ/Kunlé Adeyemi (NG, NL) studio tamassociati (IT) Kounkuey Design Initiative (KE, US), MASS Design Group (US), Nina Maritz (NA), 26’10 South Achitects/Anne Graupner, Thorsten Deckler (ZA), Noero Wolff Architects (ZA), Peter Rich Architects (ZA).


Architekturmuseum der Technischen Universität München

Pinakothek der Moderne

Barer Straße 40

80333 München (external link, opens in a new window)