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236  ARCHITECTURE OF INDEPENDENCE During the late 50s and the early 60s most countries of sub- Saharan Africa gained their independence. Architecture became one of the principal means with which the young nations expressed their national identity. New buildings were constructed, often featuring heroic and daring designs. A coinciding period of economic boom made elaborate construction methods possible while the tropical climate allowed for an architecture that blended the inside and outside. At the same time, this architecture also shows the difficulties and contradictions that the countries experienced in their independence process: in most cases, the architects were not local, but came from foreign countries, even from the former colonial powers. Could the formation of a new national identity through architecture therefore be described as a projection from the outside? Or does the international dimension rather represent the aspirations of the countries aiming for a cosmopolitan culture? The documentation of these buildings allows us to see architecture at a nexus of design and politics. NATIONAL ASSEMBL Montgomerie, Oldfield & Kirby / South Africa Lusaka, Zambia, 1966 Concept: Manuel Herz Research: Manuel Herz, Ingrid Schröder, Hans Focketyn and Julia Jamrozik FIDAK DAKAR, INTERNATIONAL FAIR Lamoureux, Marin & Bonamy / France Dakar, Senegal, 1974


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