The African connection and post-war design principles in architecture: the intellectual bridge to Europe and the USA
The project, developed in connection with the IUAV University of Architecture of Venice (Italy), the School of Arts and Sciences of the University of Pennsylvania (USA), and the African and African American Studies Department of the Harvard University (USA) addresses the interest of modern architects in the traditional architecture of sub-Saharan Africa after World War II and the imprint of African architecture on Western architecture.
With a holistic approach and the use of newly declassified documents, the research will shed light on the spread of the design principles of sub-Saharan architecture among the members of the “Philadelphia school” and Europeans of the same generation. The research is linked with a multiplicity of historical and cultural problems, which will be taken into account: the crisis of the ideology of progress suffered after the Great Depression; the questioning of Western culture during World War II; the out-of-datedness of the “Charter of Athens” of 1933; the new interest of the Modern Movement toward nature and landscape; the search for new design principles for the “human habitat”; the increasing interest in traditional African architecture (e.g. Dogon and Mofou) and the aporias that leads to the discovery of “otherness”.
The particular contribution of the project is to bring together aspects that are usually addressed separately: the different national scenarios, whose connections and mutual influence will be investigated; the two Western architectural realities, which have been researched mostly in separate ways by scholars of the corresponding nationalities; traditional African architectural production. The project will be conducted by combining architectural history, architectural design science, and anthropology, through the analysis of case studies and indicators.
The results will be the first comprehensive book and on-line platform on this topic, and an important contribution to the scholarship on the Western contact with traditional African architecture and the African imprint on Europe and America.
For more information see the web page of the European Union website that is dedicated to the Afrobridge project
This research is supported by a Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship within the 7th European Community Framework Programme