You would expect a design bureau to have a list of African architecture they love and we are no different. While there are truly millions of well-designed buildings in the world, we have a few from the continent we like to think of as our favourites:
1. The Stone Kingdom, Zimbabwe – 900-year-old monument
This ancient stone structure is the largest pre-colonial building complex south of the Sahara, it is located in Zimbabwe, a name that literally means “big houses of stone”. It illustrates the planning and social hierarchy of African cities a thousand years ago.
At Cave we’re drawn to the ruin’s historical value as a structure that once housed 18,000 citizens. The preservation and maintenance of such engineering over time will create a key datum for the continent.
2. Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), Kenya
An iconic structure in the heart of Nairobi’s central business district with historical value and a symbol of a change. It marks a new age away from the native traditional and recent colonial structures, culturally celebrated today, used for a multitude of public events .
To Cave, KICC is a beacon to the pan-African dream, which has been recently defaced by mass advertising, marginal maintenance and preservation.
3. The Great Mosque of Djenné, Mali – Mud Architecture
This building epitomises vernacular and sustainable architecture at its best. The choice of materials and construction techniques bring it to life. The local resources were limited and architecture took a direct relation to its natural environment.
At Cave we’re inspired by the shape of its structure, the internal prayer spaces created, but more importantly the role the community played to construct and continually maintain the building.