Reading Architecture: Architectural Guide Sub-Saharan Africa A book review with Philipp Meuser and Adil Dalbai

What does the built environment of Africa look like beyond slum huts or safari lodges? What characterizes the building activity on the continent and its rapidly growing cities? Which challenges and actors determine the architecture of the sub-Saharan region? The editors of the Architectural Guide Sub-Saharan Africa, Philipp Meuser and Adil Dalbai, provide answers and offer insights into the process of creating the seven-volume publication.

Despite the growing interest in Africa, the continent’s built environment is still largely unfamiliar in many parts of the world. The seven volumes of the Sub-Saharan Africa Architectural Guide form the first comprehensive overview of architecture south of the Sahara that does justice to the region’s wealth of buildings. In 49 chapters, each focusing on one country, richly illustrated texts by more than 350 authors from Africa and across the globe come together to produce a superlative work.

On the basis of 850 selected buildings and over 200 thematic articles, the continent’s building culture is elucidated and contextualised. The diverse contributions paint a multifaceted picture of Africa’s architecture in the twenty-first century, a discipline shaped by traditional and colonial roots as well as today’s global interconnections and challenges. An introductory volume on the history and theory of African architecture provides essential background knowledge.


video lecture


Seven volumes in a slipcase:

Vol. 1. Introduction to the History and Theory
of Sub-Saharan African Architecture
Vol. 2: Western Africa from the Atlantic Ocean
to the Sahel
Vol. 3: Western Africa along the
Atlantic Ocean Coast
Vol. 4: Eastern Africa from the Sahel to
the Horn of Africa
Vol. 5: Eastern Africa from the Great Lakes
to the Indian Ocean
Vol. 6: Central Africa from the Atlantic Ocean
to the Great Lakes
Vol. 7: Southern Africa between the Atlantic
and Indian Oceans

Architectural Guide Sub-Saharan Africa

Edited by Philipp Meuser and Adil Dalbai
DOM publishers, Berlin

First edition, spring 2021

Language English
3,412 pages, 5,000 pictures
Softcover (7 volumes)

Format 135 x 245 mm
ISBN 978-3-86922-400-8

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