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Peter Rich Has Cemented the Value of African Architecture in SA and Abroad

A new book, The Architecture of Peter Rich: Conversation with Africa, charts the long and extraordinary career of the South African architect, who put his stamp on the world and elevated the world’s understanding of African architecture. Jonathan Noble, head of architecture at the University of the Free State, has brought together sustained research, including more than 20 hours of interviews with Rich himself, drawings and photographs in a proper dedicated monograph that is nevertheless accessible to non-specialist readers. It gives Rich not just the treatment his work deserves but also a popular platform, which is much needed for a figure who is practically a national treasure. Yet beyond Mapungubwe, South Africans barely know a fraction of what he has done, or the truly pioneering ideas he has been developing for almost half a century. The book is also a powerful corrective, because, in showcasing Rich’s work, it offers a vision of what architecture from Africa and SA could be.