Beautiful buildings, ingenious innovation: Africa's most exciting architects

Published 5:44 AM ET, Thu February 23, 2017
African architects David Adjaye Smithsonian Washington DCAfrican architects David Adjaye Smithsonian Washington DC
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David Adjaye was tapped to design the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. The structure, which is slated for completion 2015, nods to an African aesthetic. The exterior will be made up of aluminum panels coated with bronze, and will employ ornamental techniques once used by former slaves, and developed in African cultures. Courtesy David Adjaye Associates
Adjaye also designed the Mass Extinction Memorial Observatory (MEMO) in Portland, UK. It is a monument to the world's extinct species. The structure's spiraling form is inspired by gastropod fossils. The walls will be carved with images of extinct species. Courtesy David Adjaye Associates
Kunle Adeyemi, the Nigerian-born founder of NLE Architects, made waves last year with the completion of one of his designs: a floating, three-story A-frame school built in Makoko, a slum on the waterfront of Lagos, Nigeria. KUNLÉ ADEYEMI/NLÉ
South African firm SAOTA builds for many of Africa's elite. The Cliff House, built on the site of a World War II bunker in Dakar, Senegal, was built as a residence for a Senegalese businessman. Courtesy SAOTA
Cape Town architect Mokena Makeka was chosen to redesign the Cape Town Station in the lead up to the 2010 World Cup. A proposal for a fully renovated station by 2030 (pictured) is under consideration. Courtesy Makeka Design Lab
In 2012, South African architect Y Tsai won a Loerie Award for converting an old shipping container into a classroom in rural South Africa. The colorful classroom featured an outdoor jungle gym, windows to allow for cross ventilation, a steel roof that can collect rain water, and an outdoor amphitheater for school events. Courtesy Y Tsai Design Studio
South African architects Nina Cohen and Fiona Garson could very well be in line for some awards this year for renovating a former gas station, car dealership and dental school into the new Wits Art Museum. Courtesy Wits Art Museum
Zimbabwean architect Mick Pearce often uses nature as inspiration for his designs. When conceiving the cooling system for CH2, a mixed-use building he designed in Melbourne, Australia, he was inspired by the way termites ventilate their nests. Courtesy Mike Pearce