Architectural Democracy in Angola
Ahead of my upcoming lectures on "Architectural Democracy" at the University of Lusíada in Luanda, Angola, I was greeted last friday by Professor Susana Matos, the head of the Architecture Department.
She showed me around the new buildings of the university with some great solutions in terms of inner courtyards but rather polemic designs disregarding basics in weather responses such as large window surfaces with no sun blockage, which in a tropical country like Angola is a recipe for high air conditioning consumption. Susana took me then to the busy streets of Luanda, chaotic from a European eyes like mine, and showed me the downtown of Luanda with some of its historical places, such as the Mercadores Street, which is now the first pedestrian street of Angola. She briefed me about the troubled history of Luanda of the pre and postcolonial times (with great similarities with the accounts given to me from my times in Benin and Nigeria) and also the worrisome attitudes of the current government towards the preservation of heritage.
Much has been destroyed, especially post-modernist buildings such as the Municipal Market of Kinaxixe, which was demolished in 2008 to be replaced by a huge office building which has not been completed so far in 2022.
My lectures at Lusíada will be held on the 4th and 5th of April.