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A comparative study of Africa’s state buildings

UNDERSTANDING STATEHOOD THROUGH ARCHITECTURE

 Northern Cape Legislature building

INTRODUCTION

Buildings shape politics, articulating power-relations in the ways they are designed, built and used.

 

Africa's state buildings – from parliaments, ministries and presidential palaces to courts, public records offices and police stations – reflect the complexities and ambiguities of the politics of its states. 

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Building Africa: the exhibition

Building Africa explores the relationship between architecture and politics. It tells stories about presidential palaces, courts, parliaments, a school, a sports stadium, airports and the African Union building itself and explains how they build political institutions and identities around the continent.

 

The exhibition is based on findings from a five-year research project at SOAS, which has been interpreted by design-teams from Ethiopia, South Africa and Ghana, each one producing an installation that explores local responses to the buildings.

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