“At an anthropological level we are all Africans” declared Leslie Lokko, the curator of the 18th International Architectural Exhibition, of the next year’s Venice Biennale, whose title is: The Laboratory of the Future.

The title is rather predictable… after all, which biennale was NOT a “laboratory of the future?”

But beyond this, let’s investigate the matter at hand.

This next biennale will focus, essentially, on Africa.

And this is a good thing.

But while the subject seems to be, AFRICA WITHIN AFRICA, we wonder if perhaps a necessary possible section could not be AFRICA, OUTSIDE OF AFRICA!?

Modern art, European or American, was heavily influenced by African Art. Some of the most famous modern artists were fascinated by the artistic, cultural production of Africa.

But strangely perhaps, not architecture.

Architecture, for the most part, remained indifferent to the beauty, let’s say, of a Dogon village… and our rationalist, Cartesian obsessions remained for the most part distant, very distant, from the spontaneity, vivacity, beautiful “primitiveness” of what was genuinely African… it is possible that the concern with “civilization” and “progress” that architecture continues to have to this day, made it rather blind towards the truly inspiring cultural force of some of the African original architecture.

We feel Africa has a lot to offer, OUTSIDE OF AFRICA TOO, in the field of architecture.

Let’s imagine that the “spontaneous order” of those beautiful villages would inspire our so-called “developed” world too… the colors, the ornaments, the genuine sustainability, the intense and joyous creativity, even when brought to life with very minimal resources, of all kinds.

We would state a provocation: we would love to see the spirit of the aforementioned Dogon village brought to Europe, or Americas, or Asia, or Australia… the force and inventiveness of that architecture could bring joy to the architecture practice worldwide… yes, maybe we would not build to the sky, yes, maybe we would not build mammoths, yes, maybe we would not build immense highways, immense casinos, immense hotels, immense everything… maybe it would be a culture of the small, of the intricate, a culture of the “irrational”, a culture beautifully other than what we have now… because the stiffness of excessive premeditation and will and calculation and “reason” would be gone.

Again, let’s look carefully at a Dogon village, taken only as an example… and let’s compare it with our dry, lifeless urbanism, or ruralism.

Can we bring back to architecture JOY, GENUINE JOY?

Import it, dear architect, from Africa.

Import it, dear architect, from your own soul and from the memories of your own dreams and your own childhood.

We will forward our contribution to the curator of the Biennale, with the hope that she will find it worthy of attention and hopefully, of inclusion in the international event next year.




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October 31, 2022
Register for Competition.  Click Here.
November 1, 2022
Submission of Work.   ICARCH posts Work Online.
November, 2022

Zoom Dialogue about Africa, outside of Africa


Engagement with alternative creators and thinkers in architecture worldwide
Zoom presentation of your work and dialogue with others including jurors.
Work posted on for many years.
Zoom dialogue posted on YouTube.
Inclusion of your name as a participant in international press releases from ICARCH.
Possible selection of your work for the 2023 ICARCH publication on 20 years of Competitions.


We will forward our contribution to the curator of the Biennale, with the hope that she will find it worthy of attention and hopefully, of inclusion in the international event next year.

At the moment, ICARCH does not provide cash prizes nor require entry fees.
Dan Coma will select "best of" entries for posting online and press releases.

If you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected].

Thank you.




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