One Pan-African’s Perspective

Title: One Pan-African’s Perspective

Author: China Chapman

Year: 2020

Abstract: Colonialism has ultimately shaped the way Africans perceive themselves and how Africa itself is perceived by the rest of the world. This consequently creates social and spatial outcomes which are important to architectural discourse. The purpose of this research is to better understand the contemporary situation of architecture in Africa, investigating challenging questions about the relationships between architecture, heritage and the pan-African experience from a personal yet relevant point of view.

The notion of a modern ‘African’ architectural language is questioned alongside the ever-changing society and complexities of the continent. This is aided by the perspective of ‘Third Space’; a way of thinking about contemporary social phenomenons, which balances critical thinking in relation to historical significance in a non-binary way. Furthermore, this research explores ‘third space as a spatial connotation in relation to self-created/organised space; seeing the opportunity for African architecture to form its own unique path towards modernism. Arguments are based on secondary research, of existing post-colonial theory and architectural discourse, and on primary research through interviews and field work in Nigeria which shift the understanding of contemporary trajectories in African architecture.

Furthermore, this research has a feminist African agenda proposing an optimistic direction for pan-African architecture through the eyes of a black female architect in training; recognising and integrating local vernacular through natural synthesis and understanding post-colonial influences. Architecture has the opportunity of creating a sense of pride which questions our engrained post-colonial mindset both at home and away, freeing ourselves in relation to the future discourse surrounding Afro-Futurism in architecture.  

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One Pan-African’s Perspective by China Chapman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.