Decolonisation and the formation of schools of architecture in sub-Saharan Africa, c. 1954–1992
Mostly founded after decolonisation, the first schools of architecture in sub-Saharan Africa contributed decisively to the organisation of postcolonial order. They codified architectural practices that expressed and shaped the political dynamics of postcolonial societies and profoundly influenced the continent’s built environment. This project assumes that these schools translated local and transnational conditions of educational institutions – epistemic resources, administrative standards, ideological orientations, economic conditions and cultural traditions – into curricula that prepared graduates to materialise specific ideas of society. Using the examples of Ethiopia, Togo, and Mozambique, I explore the history of schools of architecture in sub-Saharan Africa to analyse the dynamics of this material codification of societal order.
Nikolai Brandes studied political science in Berlin and Coimbra (Portugal) and wrote a doctoral thesis on postcolonial perspectives on modernist architecture in Mozambique at the Department of African Art at the FU Berlin. He worked as a research associate at the Institute for History + Theory of Architecture at TU Braunschweig. From 2018 to 2021, he was a staff member of the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen.