The history of Africa, the oldest landmass of earth and the birthplace of the first humans, tells us the story of the ups and downs of human civilization, the story of triumphs and disasters, which has resulted in the modern day Africa. There might be some politics in showing Africa as an underprivileged continent, which is always in need of international aids. But the truth is that like a water flow, Africa cuts through the hard rocks, struggles and fights against all the odds but in the end, it survives bravely. It overcomes all the ill usages of the outsiders and remains faithful to its own origins.
It can be said that the architecture is the physical resemblance of history in every era, and Africa is no exception. The diversity and the use of nature shown in African architecture is also the acknowledgement of this claim. Many architecture theorists believe that Africa is the leading continent in Contextual and Eco-Design, both in the past and the contemporary era. It may have been some times that the architecture of other continents have been imported to these countries as well as the other goods but now their issue is to go back to their roots and emerge a kind of architecture that is both in harmony with todays lifestyle and also the African identity and nature. The emphasis on “Home-grown” materials is a solution, which is considered by many African architects in order to gain sustainability. Beside these qualities, African architecture also has another feature, which is diversity; it goes from being the junction of eastern and western cultures in the north to being grounded to nature in the south. From the rich legacy of ancient Egypt and Ethiopia that leaves everyone in awe to the emerging architecture of the countries in southern region.
The following points are the more important challenges that African architecture is facing today:
-Recovery from Colonialism:
Despite the protracted struggle of African nations caused by colonialism and in a larger scale, imperialism, their victories to gain the power over their own countries have generated an atmosphere of hope and development. To design in an African country, all the cause and effects of the colonialism should be researched and considered in order to rejuvenate the African spirit.
-Collective Way of Living
In African view, it is a society that forms individuals, but in western view, it is the individuals that form a society. This fundamental difference in viewpoints is the key to a positive contextual design.
Since long ago, Africans have taken nature as an important factor of design into account and used it excellently as a solution of climatic difficulties.
No matter where in the world, a positive architecture is the one that connects with people. If the target audience sees a work of architecture as one of them, figuratively, they will feel free to adopt and accept it. When African architects study in America and Europe and then go back to their homeland to put their knowledge into function, they have to keep in mind that for example, merely designing a building in Bauhaus Style can not connect with people and it should become vernacular.