Asmara: Africa's Secret Modernist City

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Merrell, 2003 - Architecture - 240 pages
2 Reviews
Asmara, the capital of the small east African country of Eritrea, bordering the Red Sea, is one of the most important and exciting architectural 'discoveries' of recent years. Built almost entirely in the 1930s by the Italians, Asmara has one of the highest concentrations of modernist architecture anywhere in the world, and has evocatively been described as "the Miami of Africa." Desperate to build quickly, the colonial government of the time allowed radical architectural experimentation that would not have found favour in the more conservative European environment. Asmara therefore became one of the world's prime locations for architectural innovation during the Modern Movement. That this occurred at all is remarkable enough, but that these buildings should have survived in such numbers today makes it one of the finest modernist cities in the world. This building-by-building survey, illustrated with rare archival material and specially commissioned photographs, is a groundbreaking publication that is set to become one of the most important new books on modernist architecture of recent years.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - RobertDay - LibraryThing

The independence of Eritrea in 1993 (and the ending of the war with Ethiopia in 2000, as well as less happy events since) brought Eritrea's capital, Asmara, back into the public eye for the first time ... Read full review

Undiscovered Gem

User Review  - straydogg1 -

I purchased this book after a brief review I read in a Merrill publication the publisher. As a fan of mid century modern furniture and design found it fascinating that the existence of this city has ... Read full review



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About the author (2003)

Edward Denison originally visited the country as a student of architecture.
Edward Paice is a full-time author with interests in history, natural history and Africa.

Edward Denison is a design consultant, writer and photographer, whose work focuses on preservation and regeneration in the built environment. Bridging academic and practical disciplines, his work in Africa, Asia and Europe includes consulting for international agencies in heritage conservation, authoritative books on design and architecture, and internationally published architectural photography and writing.

Guang Yu Ren is an architect and independent consultant. Having practised in China for several years, she moved to Australia to augment her design education. Since then, she has worked with international agencies in Africa and the UK to conserve and promote architectural heritage. Her latest project has brought her back to Shanghai, where she was born and raised, and where she now works to encourage heritage conservation in education and practice, and to build links between China with the rest of the world in this field.

Naigzy Gebremedhin, one of Africa's most experienced and highly regarded consultants in the fields of architecture, engineering and the environment, was formerly Director of Eritrea's Cultural Assets Rehabilitation Programme.

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