African Modernism

African Modernism

The Architecture of Independence. Ghana, Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire, Kenya, Zambia

Back-in-print: the most comprehensive survey of modern architecture in Africa to date




Edited by Manuel Herz with Ingrid Schröder, Hans Focketyn and Julia Jamrozik. Photographs by Iwan Baan and Alexia Webster.

2nd edition

, 2022

Text in English only


640 pages, 909 color and 54 b/w illustrations, 246 plans

23.5 x 32 cm

ISBN 978-3-03860-294-1


When African Modernism was first published in 2015, it was received with international praise and has been sought after constantly ever since it went out of print in 2018. Marking Park Books’ 10th anniversary, this landmark book becomes available again.

In the 1950s and 1960s, most African countries gained independence from their respective colonial power. Architecture became one of the principal means by which the newly formed countries expressed their national identity. African Modernism investigates the close relationship between architecture and nation-building in Ghana, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, and Zambia. It features one hundred buildings with brief descriptive texts, images, site plans, and selected floor plans and sections. The vast majority of images were newly taken by Iwan Baan and Alexia Webster for the book’s first edition. Their photographs document the buildings in their present state. Each country is portrayed in an introductory text and a timeline of historic events. Further essays on postcolonial Africa and specific aspects and topics, also illustrated with images and documents, round out this outstanding volume.


Manuel Herz runs his own design and urban planning studio in Basel and Cologne. He is assistant professor at the University of Basel.


Ingrid Schröder is an architect and director of the MPhil program in Architecture and Urban Design at the University of Cambridge. She was appointed director of the Architectural Association’s School of Architecture in London in May 2022 and will assume that position in August 2022.


Hans Focketyn runs his own architecture firm in Basel and teaches as a professor at Bern University of Applied Sciences’ School of Architecture, Wood and Civil Engineering in Burgdorf, Switzerland.


Julia Jamrozik is an architect and assistant professor at the University of Buffalo’s School of Architecture in Buffalo, NY.


Winner of the FILAF d'or, the first prize for Best Books on Art 2015 at the FILAF (The International Art Book and Film Festival).


Named one of the Most Beautiful Swiss Books 2015.


Winner of the DAM Architectural Book Award 2016.


Designed by Marie Lusa.

Autoren & Herausgeber

Zvi Efrat

Hans Focketyn

François de Font-Réaulx

Till Förster

Manuel Herz

 runs his own architectural firm with offices in Basel and Cologne. He has taught at Bartlett School of Architecture (London), Berlage Institute (Rotterdam), Harvard Graduate School of Design, ETH Studio Basel – Contemporary City Institute, and is currently teaching as a visiting professor for architectural design at ETH Zurich.

Julia Jamrozik

Hannah Le Roux

Léo Noyer-Duplaix

Ingrid Schröder


«You really have to get Mr. Herz’s book African Modernism, a 640-page doorstop published when this show first appeared in Germany, to appreciate the breadth of modern African architecture, as well as its political significance and contemporary afterlives.» Jason Farago, The New York Times


«This book has emerged from researchers at ETH Zurich, one of Europe’s leading architecture schools, and it shows how lively engagement by academic institutions with interesting questions can produce first-rate results. Very far from being a dusty tome, this large and generous book combines its photographic surveys and detailed case studies with useful historical summaries and charts, and essays by experts on specific themes. » Timothy Brittain-Catlin, World of Interiors


«Documenting the grand, optimistic architecture of the post-independence era in Africa, this gorgeous book (with photos by Iwan Baan and Alexia Webster) introduces us to an extraordinary collection of unfamiliar buildings.» Edwin Heathcote, Financial Times


«Ein hervorragendes Übersichtswerk.» Roman Hollenstein, Neue Zürcher Zeitung


«Eine Publikation, die in jede Bibliothek über Afrika gehört, und in keinem Regal zur Architektur der 60- und 70er-Jahre fehlen sollte.» Andres Herzog, Hochparterre


«In der Zeitspanne, die mit der Gewinnung der afrikanischen Unabhängigkeit einher ging, entstanden teils wundervolle Architekturen, die zum grössten Teil der europäischen Sicht verborgen blieben. Das grosse Verdienst der Ausstellung und des begleitenden Katalogs African Modernism ist es, diese Sicht überhaupt erst zu ermöglichen.» Dirk E. Hebel, werk, bauen + wohnen


«Die erste umfassende ‹Bibel› über die Bautätigkeit  in den Sub-Sahara-Ländern.» Claudia Schmid, SonntagsZeitung


«Inspirierend und eindringlich: Der faszinierende materielle Ausdruck der Visionen aus den 1960er-Jahren bröckelt und ist noch kaum dokumentiert.» Françoise Krattinger, Heimatschutz/Patrimoine


«Dieses Buch ist ohne aufdringliche Didaktik wirklich eine Erweiterung der Perspektive. Die jüngere Geschichte des Kontinents erzählt es nicht aus seinen Defiziten heraus, sondern aus seinen Ambitionen.» Silke Hohmann, MONOPOL


«The care that Herz and his fellow editors, Ingrid Schröder, Hans Focketyn, and Julia Jamrozi, have taken to provide a balanced and comprehensive discussion of the origins of modernism in Africa will make this a seminal work in the discourse of African Architecture. It offers intellectual rigor, fascinating insights, and marvellous visuals in equal measures. No book collection on African architecture would be complete without it.» David Adjaye, Architectural Record