SOAS University of London

Ancient church or shopping mall? The search for Africa's favourite building

6 December 2020

The African State Architecture project has started its search for ‘Africa’s favourite building’ asking members of the public to nominate their choices. So far it has collected buildings from Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe - which leads the field with eight nominations.

‘It’s fascinating to see which buildings catch people’s imaginations,’ said Julia Gallagher, director of the ASA project. ‘We’ve got a garage in Accra, an ancient Ethiopian rock church, a temple in the Seychelles and the Eastgate shopping mall in South Africa.

‘People are nominating buildings for all sorts of reasons - some for their historical or political importance - like the house Oliver Tambo used while exiled in Zambia, or Kwame Nkrumah’s mausoleum in Accra; and others for their beauty like the Old Bank building in Guinea Bissau or the Bulawayo High Court in Zimbabwe.’

The project is after as many nominations as possible, in a bid to generate discussion of Africa’s architectural heritage. The results will also contribute to the broader ASA project which explores the ways in which public buildings shape politics and identity across the continent.

You can see the nominations so far and join in the search by visiting the website.

IMG - African State Architecture Full size image