Five Years African Architecture Matters
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Five Years African Architecture Matters

African Architecture Matters celebrates its fifth anniversary this year. Started in 2010 by some of the founders of Archiafrika as a knowledge centre on the African built environment, it developed into a multi disciplinary collective that combines extensive expertise on the built environment with the power to realize innovative urban projects that go beyond the African context. 

Learning from Casablanca (2010)

Collective combining broad expertise
Over the past 5 years AAmatters particularly developed expertise on the role of tangible and intangible heritage in urban planning by research and implementation. Started with a group of experienced architect, the collective now includes heritage experts, landscape architects, economists, anthropologists, urban planners and more.

Meet the team here!

Meeting the community in Zanzibar (2014)

Connecting and promoting
AAmatters combines hands-on projects with education, research and knowledge sharing through student workshops, public events and publishing. Through partnerships with universities, local NGO's, private and public sector, other knowledge and network organizations like Archiafrika, Prince Claus Fund, Aga Khan Award for Architecture, UNESCO, UNhabitat and BOZAR, AAmatters promotes the past, present and future of built Africa.

Blueprints of Paradise, with Afrika Museum (2011)

Mediatheque as treasure
An important aspect of AAmatters' strong knowledge basis is the mediatheque that includes over 5,000 titles of books, research papers, reports and magazines as well as an equal number of original photographs, maps, aerials and designs.

The mediatheque forms a rich source for researchers from within and outside of AAmatters.

Greetings from Zanzibar
In the past years, an intensive collaboration between the Government of Zanzibar, the local private sector and AAmatters came to life and yielded some groundbreaking results:
Hifadhi Zanzibar is a limited liability company owned by Zanzibari shareholders that has just started operations. It aims to contribute to a healthy future of Zanzibar by acquiring, restoring and cost-effectively utilizing monumental buildings in a sustainable way.

Hifadhi Zanzibar manages its property in a profitable way, not with the aim to maximize dividend, but to reinvest in new property, making an ever-increasing positive impact on the state of Zanzibar's built heritage.

Hifadhi is based on the business concept of Stadsherstel Amsterdam NV and AAmatters has played a pivoting role in setting it up and continues to support it in the coming period.

Touring Dutch Minister Ploumen in Stone Town (2014)

Ng'ambo Tuitakayo and the NSDS
The Department of Urban and Rural Planning with assistance of AAmatters and other partners developed a new framework for the future spatial development of Zanzibar. This encompasses, amongst others, a National Spatial Development Strategy, Regional Plans, Local Area Plans and Policy Planning Guidelines.

The next challenge is a full redevelopment plan for Ng'ambo, the Other Side of Zanzibar, hitherto ignored, though being the vital mirror city of Zanzibar Stone Town. For the future Ng'ambo is earmarked as the City Centre of Zanzibar and a new plan is in the making, this time based on UNESCO Historic Urban Landscapes principles, involving the (in)tangible cultural heritage of yesterday, today and tomorrow. The Department will cooperate with the City of Amsterdam and AAmatters in this venture.

Michenzani in Ng'ambo, Zanzibar (photo Mieke Woestenburg)

Maputopia exhibition (2012)

Scrolling through the AAmatters website gives you  more insight in what has been undertaken in the past 5 years. Keep an eye at the website or like us on Facebook for future updates!

We are keen to continue the journey with you!

Interventions at the Amsterdam Central Station by Dakar architecture students during Dak'art biannual (2012) 

This is what our partners say:
(and read their full quotes here)
'AAmatters  has proven to be a critical and cutting-edge organization that truly impacts theory, discourse and practice of architecture and design, thus advancing the concept of creative cities and urban cultures.’
N'Goné Fall, Curator, art critic and policy advisor (Senegal / France)

‘AA Matters is a hard working team of individuals whose output is certainly greater than the sum of their parts!'
Ola Uduku - Reader in Tropical Architecture and Environmental Design, Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (Scotland / Nigeria)
'AAmatters is leading, stimulating and helping to organize local communities and groups like Hifadhi in Zanzibar, to protect and preserve their environment and their heritage.
Through Hifadhi, AAmatters demonstrates that doing good work can also be economically interesting!'

Nicola Colangelo - Entrepreneur and shareholder of Hifadhi Zanzibar (Tanzania)
'Our trip and the year-long thesis projects it generated are testament to why AAmatters matters. Their tenacity, dedication and interest in African architecture, in all its complexity and at all scales, is unparalleled.'
Lesley Lokko - Novelist, architect and associate professor at the University of Johannesburg (South Africa / Ghana) 

'Since then, we shared several initiatives, projects, thoughts, dreams, in architecture, culture, heritage, history, future, about the Netherlands, about Casablanca, about Africa, with the same passion, the same faith and the same madness.'
Abderrahim Kassou – Architect, Casablanca (Morocco)
'Now that I am in, I support them in 'spinning yarns' as KWAKU ANANSE does, without the trickery.'
Joe Osae – Addo, Architect, CEO of ConstructsLLC and chairman of ArchiAfrika (Ghana)
'AAmatters has proven to be that indispensable and reliable partner for many in The Netherlands. Working in and with Africa, bridging gaps and overcoming hurdles with stamina and passion, thereby opening up Africa to the rest of the world.'
Sabine Gimbrère, Director of the International Office, City of Amsterdam (Netherlands)

'these guys are terrible. It results in return trips to East Africa in a maximum of 4 days, they email you day and night, and when you answer they respond immediately.' 
Paul Morel – Project coordinator and International Affairs Stadsherstel Amsterdam (Netherlands)
'AAmatters has been a formidable foundation and stepping-stone for me in the field of Architecture and Urban Design in Africa.' 
Immanuel Sirron-Kakpor - architect and planner (Ghana / Netherlands)
Copyright © 2015 African Architecture Matters, All rights reserved.

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