Have you ever imagined what the architecture of Africa would look like today, if the great civilizations of Egypt, Timbuktu, Mali, the Dogon, Zulu, Yoruba, and thousands of other African empires had continued to develop and evolve in their own unique identity? Imagine the transformation of the African landscape into sprawling metropolises filled with architectural masterpieces celebrating new interpretations of traditional design elements, portrayed with all the comfort of modern innovations and technique.
The Community Planning & Design Initiative Africa (CPDI Africa) 2021 culture-inspired, research-based design competition aims to promote the development of new architectural languages for the African Diaspora that are culturally and environmentally sustainable. What Africa would you build if given the opportunity to develop African skylines in her own image?
The CPDI Africa 2021 competition is open to both students and practitioners of architecture and all related professions of the built environment, inclusive of arts & design, engineering, town planning and urban design. Participants may enter the competition as individuals, or may submit their entries as part of a team of designers, artists, engineers, and planners. Teams are limited to a maximum of 3 members.
The competition is open to any race, religion or creed, and encourages collaborative ventures between development professionals in Africa and the Diaspora. Applicants may register from all parts of Africa, the Americas, Caribbean, Europe and Asia and are encouraged to build multicultural/multinational teams in order to harness a multiplicity of creative ideas. Applicants are encouraged to seek inspiration from their African roots for their concepts. Submitted Designs that are obvious copies of existing buildings will be disqualified.
The Challenge:The CPDI Africa 2021 competition calls for design entries of prototypes for a contemporary Cultural Center inspired by architecture of the African Diaspora. To design prototypes of African centered or inspired architecture that reflects the culture, aesthetics and sustainability for community design and development in today’s Africa, research must accompany the design. The links between research and design are achieved in three categories:
- Culture-Lifestyle (floor plan & functionality)
- Aesthetics (finishing & furnishing)
- Sustainability (materials, climate & cost)
Participants of the CPDI Africa design competition must first conduct research into the traditional architecture of their selected ethnic groups to understand the impact of climate, lifestyle, social norms, cultural philosophies and spiritual beliefs on space utilization and location within the community. Sources for research are available on our links:
Participants must explore the aesthetics and artistic languages of their selected ethnic groups or African regions to gain inspiration from their decorative and symbolic patterns, motifs, textures, colours, forms and finishes.
Participants must also understand the use of particular materials and building techniques, paying special attention to sustainability, availability and affordability of local materials in their selected African region. It is critical to utilize such materials and techniques in a way that proves their relevance in a contemporary built environment for Africa.
Participants are encouraged to acquire additional inspiration from the evolution of other African arts, such as music, fashion, visual arts, cuisine, film and theater, for more intricate expressions of African creativity, but most importantly how African life is lived. It is the architectural translation of these elements of daily life that will strengthen your design concept.
Finally, participants must harmonize their research findings to develop their designs according to the CPDI Africa 2021 design brief. Through this process, collaborating architects, artists, designers and allied built environment professionals will create stimulating and successful design prototypes for a culturally appropriate and sustainable Cultural Center for Africa and the Diaspora.
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