NOMAS Symposium: African Art & Architecture Exhibit
The NOMAS symposium emerged out of a need to provide a platform to elevate the voices of minoritized designers and planners and de-center the western imperialist standards of architecture.
As professor Charles Davis II stated, “[the] history of architecture must consist of a cultural history of the built environment, not a ‘canon’ of ‘good works’.” The symposium strives to engage students and professionals, encouraging them to speculate about the future of design, spanning across the cultures of the world and topics such as sustainability, technology, social justice, and theoretical frameworks used by minoritized designers and communities.
This year, the African Art & Architecture Exhibit will explore the ways in which European settler colonialism ravaged different regions of the African continent and how it manifested in the built environment. It will explore the ways in which African lands served as the testing grounds for Modernist architecture and the ways that “vernacular” architectural styles combined and mixed with European styles to produce some of what is present in the built environment today. It will explore the ways some countries, after gaining independence, erected monuments to symbolize their freedom and autonomy. Finally, it will explore the ways that historical, traditional, and contemporary conceptions of space, ornamentation, design, and construction relate across different regions and African cultures.
Four guest speakers will give presentations throughout the day on various topics concerning Afrocentric Architecture on the continent and throughout the diaspora:
Nnamdi Elleh, Ph.D.
Head of School of Architecture and Planning, University of Witwatersrand (Johannesburg, South Africa)
Founder of CPDI Africa; The Global Studio for African Centered Architecture; Professor of African Architecture and Urban Design (Atlanta, GA)
Associate Professor, Kennesaw State University; Architectural Designer, Chasm Architecture (Atlanta, GA)
Dwayne Smith Alexander
Architectural Designer, Urban Architectural Initiatives (New York City, NY)
Funding is provided by the University of Illinois Library Innovation Fund.