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Top 10 Afro-Smart Designs

1. Afro-Smart Design – Chongwe River House

Afro-Smart Design - Chongwe River House

Located in the Lower Zambezi in Zambia, the Chongwe River House (www.chongweriverhouse.com) is a two-time winner of Best Safari House in Africa. Acclaimed Zimbabwean-born designer Neil Rocher conceived it as an “organic termite mound.” Reinforced concrete walls are curvilinear: no acute angles, no flat surfaces, no doors (curved entrances provide privacy).

2. Afro-Smart Design – Chongwe River House

Afro-Smart Design - Chongwe River House

A design team led by Gillie Lightfoot, the visionary behind Tribal Textiles (www.tribaltextiles.co.zm), recently refurbished the interiors, focusing on “hand-designed, beautifully crafted and organic” elements, like this shimmery waterfall chandelier.

3. Afro-Smart Design – Chongwe River House

Afro-Smart Design - Chongwe River House

Suzie Lightfoot’s Malawi-based company, Katundu Textiles (www.Katundu.net), supplied the hand-produced and ethically traded bedspreads, cushions and lampshades embellished with beads, seeds and shells.

4. Afro-Smart Design – Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Afro-Smart Design - Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Bibliotheca Alexandrina (www.bibalex.org) in Alexandria, Egypt was designed and built by Oslo-based Snǿhetta (www.snoarc.no) and Cairo-based Hamza Associates (www.hamza.org), and is a winner of the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

5. Afro-Smart Design – Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Afro-Smart Design - Bibliotheca Alexandrina

The interior contains books in Arabic, English and French with shelf space for eight million volumes. The immense main reading room comprises 753,473 square feet on 11 stepped levels. The sundial-shaped, glass-paneled roof measures 525 feet across and slants towards the Mediterranean Sea.

6. Afro-Smart Design – North Island Lodge

Afro-Smart Design - North Island Lodge

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Opened 10 years ago on a private paradise island in the Seychelles, North Island Lodge (www.north-island.org) caters to the ecologically-minded. The entire place was built after extensive coordination with the government to make certain the environment was not only undisturbed, but preserved. The owners’ philosophy is to rehabilitate habitats and reintroduce the critically endangered flora and fauna of Seychelles.

7. Afro-Smart Design – North Island Lodge

Afro-Smart Design - North Island Lodge

Labeled “Haute Couture Robinson Crusoe,” the style of the lodge merges “raw village authenticity with six-star luxury.” The lodge, winner of numerous awards including a World Travel Award for the Indian Ocean’s leading green resort, is also where Kate and William escaped to for their royal honeymoon. We wonder which of the 11 guest villas strung like pearls along a mile-long beach did they stay in? Photo credit: Andrew Howard

8. Afro-Smart Design – Kariakoo Market Hall

Afro-Smart Design - Kariakoo Market Hall

The Kariakoo Market Hall in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania is a paradigm of form following function and adapting to climate. Its grand scale – several city blocks – and volumes of indoor space protect from inclement weather and maximize air circulation during the tropical wet and dry seasons.

9. Afro-Smart Design – Kariakoo Market Hall

Afro-Smart Design - Kariakoo Market Hall

Its main feature is a massive roof constructed of a flight of huge funnels that collect and store rainwater in underground tanks. Designed by architect B.M. Amuli, and engineered by Michael Leach/Gordon Melvin & Partners, Kariakoo was built in 1974, and serves as an anchor for the broader, bustling neighborhood marketplace. Photo Credit: Michael Leach

10. Afro-Smart Design – Leobo Private Reserve

Afro-Smart Design - Leobo Private Reserve

Leobo (www.leoboprivatereserve.com) is a magical house and observatory set on a 12,000-acre private, family-owned game reserve in the Waterburg Mountains of South Africa. The architects were Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, the celebrated South African husband and wife team, known for enlisting crews of indigenous craftspeople and using unorthodox, often wild, materials. Photo credit: Leobo Private Reserve

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Written by PH

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