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Capturing Africa’s Architectural Flair

An ambitious seven-volume encyclopedia captures the wealth of architectural wonders in 49 sub-Saharan African countries. In Burkina Faso, the iconic Grand Mosque of Bobo-Dioulasso features conical towers dotted with wooden struts that resemble spears from afar but double up as scaffolding for repair works whenever necessary. The redesigning of megacities such as Lagos, which are dominated by huge slums, is a central theme of sub-Saharan architecture. A striking example is a project involving raftlike buildings in Lagos Bay. The Nigerian architect Kunle Adeyemi conceptualized the Makoko Floating School, a failed but nonetheless groundbreaking construction project. These are but two of the numerous impressive buildings that first captivated Berlin-based architect and publisher Phillip Meuser. It was during his work trips to West Africa that Meuser discovered the richness and originality of sub-Saharan African architecture, which until then hardly got mention in specialist literature.