Archives For africa

Odd, bunker-like round houses in Mogadishu, built in the 1930s –

mogadishu round housesI wonder if they still exist.

Mogadishu evidently witnessed a period of modernist expansion in the 1930s, including the construction of several majestic art deco buildings. Most were badly damaged if not destroyed during Somalia’s decades of civil war.

round houses with a view

February 18, 2015 — 1 Comment

Sunrise in northern Ethiopia, near Lalibela –

northern ethiopia sunrise

build different

November 13, 2014 — Leave a comment

In a village full of rectangular houses near the town of Grimari, Central African Republic, one house stands out –

central african republic (nr grimari)

central african repub (nr grimari)

psychedelic african hut

August 19, 2014 — 1 Comment

In the Gambia, a new take on an old form


les maisons ballons

November 21, 2013 — 2 Comments

A colony of Wallace Neff’s bubble houses (“maisons ballons”) in Dakar — as they look now –

neff, bubble houses, dakar, 2013

And as they looked in 1949, when they were built –

neff, bubble houses, dakar

tanzania round houses

a 1940s housing bubble

March 25, 2012 — 3 Comments

Wallace Neff, a Southern California architect who made Spanish-style mansions for Hollywood stars in the ’30s and ’40s, also tried his hand at designing innovative, low-cost housing for the poor.  His Airform houses, often called bubble houses, were inexpensive and easy to build –

Meant to remedy 1940s housing shortages, the houses never caught on in the United States.  Only a few hundred of them were built here, rather than the thousands that Neff expected, and nearly all have since been torn down.

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