IN: Inspiration


Africa’s exponential population growth calls for extraordinary urban architectural solutions. Architectural visionary, Issa Diabaté, has dedicated his career to designing the future of urban Africa.


Rising to the Challenge of Population Growth

The growth of the Africa’s economy over the past few decades has been followed by rapid increases in population. This continent-wide phenomenon has led to unprecedented urban sprawl, which has had major implications for urban infrastructure and access to resources. Issa Diabaté may however have some answers. Having completed his Masters at Yale University in the USA some 20 years ago, Diabaté returned to his hometown Abuja in the Ivory Coast and immediately took on the challenge of reviving the ailing urban landscape. His exemplary work alongside the Ivorian government has since shown how, through adopting a sustained vision, the rest of the African continent could address the issues presented by overpopulation.

Embracing the New

Diabaté strongly believes in locating his designs in the present. This ethos extends to his firm, Koffi & Diabaté Architects, where the work produced responds to local issues. One of these issues is undoubtedly economic. “We build with the methods and materials that are widely available in the cities we work in, namely because it makes economical sense” says Diabaté. Although many people believe “traditional” building materials such as earth bricks or rammed earth are more cost effective than contemporary materials, Diabaté argues that this is not the case. Concrete is more accessible and cost effective, making it the easiest material to build with in most parts of the world, according to Diabaté.
For this reason, Koffi & Diabaté Architects work primarily with concrete. In the words of Diabaté, “African architecture qualifies the architecture that is produced in Africa, for Africans and their African concerns. Strangely enough, a building will look contemporary while integrating principles of cross ventilation learned from traditional buildings but executed with widely available materials.” Diabaté is currently involved in a number of cutting-edge projects that form part of his career-long project to rehabilitate urban Africa.

Do You Have a Vision for a Better Africa?

The PPC Imaginarium Awards is a platform for visionary problem solvers such as Diabaté. There’s no better way to start off a career than by connecting with the best minds in South Africa’s creative and design industries. See how the Awards can turn your vision into a reality here.

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