top of page

Building Africa: An exhibition about how architecture shapes politics 11 January – 16 March 2024

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. These installations were originally exhibited in Addis Ababa, Johannesburg and Accra. They come together now to show how complex and often fraught political ideas are played out through architecture and popular responses to it.


Dates and opening hours

11 January – 16 March 2024

10.30am-5.00pm, Tuesday-Saturday

Late opening until 8.00pm on Thursdays


Brunei Gallery, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1B 5DQ




Exhibition events

Alongside the exhibition we are running a series of free public talks on topics on Politics and Architecture in Africa. They are all in the Brunei Gallery at SOAS.


Events are all free but you need to register for the talks (see links below).

25 Jan              Nora Naji ‘Paradise lost? Shielding an island’s “outsiders” in Lamu County’s

last safe haven’. 17.00-19.00, Room B103, Brunei Gallery, SOAS. Registration


8 Feb               Tomà Berlanda ‘The languages of contemporary architecture in Sub-Saharan

Africa: 1960-2020’.17.00 -19.00, Room B103,Brunei Gallery, SOAS. Registration


15 Feb             Brook Hailieselassie title TBC. 17.00-19.00, Room B103, Brunei Gallery, SOAS. Registration


22 Feb             Julia Gallagher ‘Building Africa: architecture and politics in South Africa,

Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia’.

17.00-19.00, Room B103, Brunei Gallery, SOAS. Registration


29 Feb             Laura Routley title TBC. 17.00-19.00, Room B103, Brunei Gallery,


7 Mar              Innocent Batsani-Ncube ‘From sharp to subtle power: why is China building

parliament buildings in Africa?’. 17.00-19.00, Room B103, Brunei Gallery, SOAS. Registration.


8 Mar              Nahom Teklu, Khensani Jurczok-de Klerk, Tapiwa Manase, Tshegofatso Mako

and Aude Tollo, Augustine Owusu-Ansah, Lois Quartey and Julia

Gallagher ‘Academics and architects creating knowledge together: Building

Africa’s curators and designers roundtable’. Brunei Gallery, SOAS. Registration


TBC                 Kuukuwa Manful title TBC. Registration


bottom of page