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In Mali, and in Niger, Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Benin, mud is not just used for making pots. It has been used for hundreds of years to build sensational structures -houses, mosques, palaces, temples, entire communities - which are repaired and remoulded every year during engagingly splashy mud festivals. And the very viscosity of this most malleable material has produced some highly inventive forms that seem to encompass ancient cultures, the spirits of the Sahara and even a touch of Surrealism.
With a dramatically slanted roof, rising on a hilldside in Librevile, Gabon, this assembly hall design incorporates Gabon’s vibrant ecology to create a striking expression of a Green Gabon.
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Brian Vermeulen, of the architecture firm of Cottrell and Vermeulen in London, England, describes how the African Site of Great Zimbabwe, a major trading center until the 15th century, has influenced his work.
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