Freedom and unity in diversity : the role of architecture in the creation of an African Union centre.
Adebayo, Miriam Oluwatoyin.
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Throughout the African continent several significant historical events occurred that partly influenced current problems in African societies. The Problems are economic underdevelopment, social crises, racism and internal conflicts. It explains the great need for an institution like the African Union (AU), which is working towards a common goal including all African peoples of selfempowerment in social economic, cultural and political terms. The selected history of the African continent is mainly concerned with Colonial Africa leading to contemporary period. The colonial part has left a mark on Africa that several movements such as the Pan-African movement, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and today's African union attempted to create a union of Africa as a greater gain of emancipation on the comments of nations. Architecture is the main focus in this study, which through several precedents of traditional African settlements key principles are studied and highlighted. The colonial era in Africa has left a great mark in African societies in adapting their planning principles and architectural structures which are still visible today. During this time architecture identifying Africa has been neglected and in current year it has been reintegrated. Examples of current trends of architecture in Africa are examined, which are a fusion of traditional elements and ideologies and current technologies. The aim is to find an architectural approach which synthesizes African elements and creates a new African identity in the common goal of the African Union. The intention of the study is to understand the principles of African elements and to give a holistic understanding of African architecture. The case study area is Durban, a place of multiplicity in cultures and architectural styles which can become the host for the AU center and its expression of unity and diversity.