Togo Africa lifestyle

“Technologie Democracy”, “low high tech”, these are the mantras of Sename Agboginou the founder of L’Africaine D’Architecture. His initiatives have one uniting goal: making groundbreaking technology accessible to the common man. With this in mind Sename founded L’Africaine d’Architecture, an architectural firm based out of Lome, Togo, with the idea of localizing the ideas of “Smart Cities” to Lome.

Smart cities have been helmed as our future utopic cities, with various major firms such as Microsoft, Oracle, and IBM, jumping on the concept to optimize cities like Boston, London, Rio de Janeiro, and Johannesburg. So far, they have focused mostly on infrastructure i.e. optimizing the use of water, or reducing traffic. However, criticism has arisen around the corporate led optimization focused around the lack of integration of the citizens that actually live there within the process.

With the dynamisms, culture, history, and traditions of African cities, there is much to be taken into consideration when making a city more efficient, while incorporating the needs of citizens. There is no doubt that with the quickly growing urban population in Africa, there is a need for cities become more efficient. However, the lifestyle of the citizens must be considered. With Sename’s commitment to Lome, he was not looking to build a shiny new city but rather gather influence from the past, and the city’s present, creating the concept of Hubcite.

Takientas in Togo

L’Africaine D’Architecture is looking to revive the West African architectural traditions through HubCite, specifically the mud based structures prevalent in countries like Mali, Chad, Togo, Burkina Faso, and Cameroon. When mud huts are spoken about, they are usually depicted as primitive structures, while in reality they are part of a rich cultural tradition practical to the climates in which they are constructed. Mud structures have existed around the world for centuries. Notable examples of grandiose structures on the continent made from mud include, Bobo Dioulasso Grand Mosque in Burkina Faso and the great Mosque of Djenne, in Mali. In Togo, mud structures are prevalent in the northern part of the country and are called Takientas. Koutammakou is a UNESCO world heritage site, which boasts several impressive takienta structures.

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