Lukasz Stanek receives Andrew W. Mellon Foundation research grant

Lukasz Stanek has received a research grant from the Canadian Centre for Architecture, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, to work on the project Africanisation of Ghanaian Architecture.

In 2018 the Canadian Centre for Architecture launched a collaborative and multidisciplinary research project on architecture’s complex developments in sub-Saharan African countries after independence.

The architecture practice and discipline, along with academic institutions, archives, libraries, and museums, have been integral to what Valentin-Yves Mudimbe calls “the invention of Africa” by the West.

This project, therefore, asks, first, how to understand architecture’s historical role in decolonization, neocolonialism, globalization, and their manifestations across the continent, at local and regional scales; and, second, how this understanding can challenge established methods and disciplinary conventions of architectural and urban studies.

“Centring Africa: Postcolonial Perspectives on Architecture” seeks to contextualize such seemingly paradoxical relations as those among building and unbuilding, formal and informal, appropriated and expropriated, and modern and traditional.

The project aims to question, and eventually shift, perspectives shaped by North/South knowledge divides.

This research initiative is catalyzed in part by the recent arrival at the CCA of three important archival collections related to architecture, urbanism, and territoriality in Africa: those of Dutch planner Coen Beeker, German architect Georg Lippsmeier, and Kiran Mukerji, an employee of Lippsmeier.

Together, these archives form a unique research library of nearly three thousand titles, which will serve as an investigative starting point for the individual and collective projects undertaken in the framework of the CCA Multidisciplinary Research Program.

Generally, the CCA considers archival research essential to building new forms of evidence, understanding the archive broadly, even as one which still needs to be constructed.

Specifically, this project reconsiders the archive in order to challenge the reliance on Western sources by looking beyond institutional archives to others constructed around single buildings, international organizations, urban spaces, new policies, statistics, laws, photography, financial programs, and philosophical, intellectual, or cultural propositions.

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