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Tented Love: How Senegal Created a Spectacular New African Architecture

Upon independence in the 1960s, Senegal’s leadership was eager to throw off the shackles of colonialism and embrace a new identity free of Western influence. One way in which they did so was through architecture, in which they sought new designs that referenced ancient Sudano-Sahelian traditions. Visiting the International Fair of Dakar is like taking a stroll through the ruins of some ancient Toblerone-worshipping civilisation. A cluster of triangular pavilions rises from a podium, each clad in a rich pattern of seashells and pebbles. These are reached by triangular steps that lead past triangular plant pots to momentous triangular entranceways. All around, great hangar-like sheds extend into the distance, ventilated by triangular windows and topped with serrated triangular roofs. All that’s missing is triangular honey from triangular bees.