Arts | Politics | Economy | Education & Sciences17 Nov 2017
Tanzanian students produce magazine on architecture and the city
Arts, 1 May 2012

The 2012 spring issue of the ArchiAfrika newsletter pays much attention to ANZA, a magazine made by Tanzanian architecture students and graduates. Below you'll find parts of the article "Dar Es Salaam & Its Architecture" by Brenda J.N. Kaira, as published in the first issue of ANZA: the introductory paragraphs and the part on the post colonial period, followed by the conclusion.

Dar es Salaam as its name “Haven of Peace” suggests, is a beautiful serene old city by the Indian Ocean. Its absolute appeal is in the natural harbour and water front and historical architecture that can be traced to 1862 when the Sultan of Zanzibar first landed. Originally planned to be a summer home for Sultan Omani Sultan Seyyid Said, since then Dar es Salaam has grown into a cosmopolitan city; a place for everyone to stay and find their future. The capital city of the United Republic of Tanzania until it was shifted Dodoma in 1974; Dar es Salaam remains the country’s commercial and administrative center.

Dar es Salaam City’s rich history and cultural heritage is evident in its architecture that is a multi-layered amalgamation of many cultures. Its architecture maybe divided into Colonial and Post Colonial periods. The Arabic, German, British, Swahili, Indian were Colonial while Early Independance & Free market were Post Colonial. The Indian and Swahili influences were more of lifestyle and architectural shapers and had little political impact on the city.

Post colonial period 1961

The Early Independence 1961-1967
The 1961 Independence brought with it a new status as the capital city of the Republic of Tanganyika and the abolishment of the racial based zoning that was practiced in the colonial periods according to Moshi (2009). Dar es Salaam enjoyed the freedom to construct any type of building establishing total independence from everything colonial. Demand for new space and infrastructure for the new capital brought new development activities in all the three zones named European, Indian and African. Existing buildings owned by
individuals were nationalized for management under the National Housing Corporation (NHC) formed in 1962 (Ayubu 2009). The architecture during this time inclined toward the functional international style modified to suit the local climatic conditions departing from the earlier styles. Examples of the buildings constructed during this period are international hotels: Kilimajaro-Kempiski Hotel on Kivukoni Front, and mixed use buildings: NIC Investment House on Samora Avenue (Sutton 1970).

During this period two master plans for the city were commissioned at intervals of 20years, 1949 and 1968. Indian type buildings continued to be constructed in the Uhindini and Kariakoo areas while modified Swahili Type morphology dominated Kariakoo until the 1968 Master plan. The 1968 Masterplan, saw the emergence of landmarks such as Kariakoo Market and Cooperative Building constructed.
Before this the 1949 Masterplan influenced the urban structures and concepts. It determined the architectural development of the city centre reflecting the identity and ambition of the new socio economic and cultural order. New structures were constructed higher than the existing two storeys. A struggle with a new identity that would be a symbol of the new nation regardless of the inherited history issued.

Multi-storey buildings did not appear until 1967 when Dar es Salaam embraced the new architecture; International Style with characteristic brutal practicality (Sutton 1970). As concrete became a popular building material, these buildings bore common features such as egg-box pattern and concrete louvers as sun breaker units (Sutton ibid). Concrete was commonly used for commercial, official and educational buildings. The new structures of this period were characterized by high-rise buildings with a podium of two to three levels
and a recessed tower transforming the skyline yet striving to maintain the human scale and existing character of the street. The towers frequently displayed horizontal bands of openings. Structural system dictated the shapes of door and window openings, roof type and literally defined the shading devices which resulted in climatic conditions modifying international
styles by emphasizing the need for shade and ventilation.

Free-Market Economy Period (1985- 2011)
This period continues to be characterised by rapid developments in construction within the city. It is the “free market economy‚Äü policy introduced in 1985 to encourage private investment resulting Tanzania opened its doors to the world. Globalization enabled an ease in exchange of material, technology; IT, human recourses and information transforming the trend of the building industry. The client/ developer’s demands became more international with the explosion of
high-rise buildings employing global material; glass façades and aluminum cladding. Climate conditions continue to be ignored perhaps with the advancement of technology in controlling a building’s indoor climate. The architecture produced during this period a mixture of several styles, is characterized by both modern and post-modern. The podium and tower (that helps maintain the human scale), urban elements such as canopies and colonnades that create pedestrian friendly environments and they have
extensive application of glass façades. This has ensured that the products today lack continuity with the existing context. This uncoordinated renewal of the city centre, has lead to some of the architectural heritage; old German residences
in the eastern part of the city to be demolished and replaced by new multi-storey structures such as office and institutional buildings.

Architecture in Dar es Salaam has come along way, over 140 years it has transformed but was always been sensitive to the climatic conditions and the surrounding built environment until recently. New structures are changing the local character of Dar es Salaam whose history is retold through its architecture. Instead of blending, it seems contemporary architecture is on
a mission to erase its historical foundation.
Brenda J.N. Kaira
In Kiswahili, ANZA means 'Start'. The ANZA team consists of mostly students and graduates from the School of Architecture and Design (SADE) of ARDHI University in Dar es Salaam. They use intensive workshops to develop their magazine further. See the ANZA website for more information on the initiative.

Other articles on ANZA in the ArchiAfrika newsletter are an interview with two of the ANZA team members, a biographical presentation on Tanzanian Beda Amuli, the first indigenous African to be registered as an architect in 1966, a compelling plea by Anitah S. Hakika to care for the built environment and a photo essay by the same author on her daily trip from home to work.

The newsletter also contains a short introductory note by ArchiAfrika Chairman Joe Osae Addo. The full newsletter can be found here as a PDF file, in English and French versions.

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