beautiful buildings of Dakar

I am a big fan of midcentury design in general and a huge fan of midcentury African architecture in particular. There seems to be a huge range of styles, each drawing from different regions, periods, and influences. I’ve been calling it all Midcentury African for now and promising myself to look for actual terminology and history later, whenever I find the time to go down that rabbit hole.

For months I’ve been taking pictures of my favorite of these buildings in Dakar and it’s high time I shared them…

Above is the Institut Pasteur, where they have been doing really important research on Ebola and Zika, among other communicable diseases. (The photos above and below were taken with an iPhone with the sun setting in the background; I hope you can make out the amazing typographic and decorative details despite the crappy photos…)

I have no idea what this building is, but I knew I was overdue to post my building photos when I saw that it had been totally repainted since the first time I passed by.

Below is the IFAN art museum, which I visited during Dak’Art but whose permanent collection is still on my to-see list. (I made the mistake of trying to go during the early days of Ramadan, before I had realized that everything closes between 2 and 3 pm for that entire month of fasting.)

Below, my absolute favorite, for reasons unknown even to myself. It just speaks to me.

The building below is just in front of the one above. It has a Burkinabe/Malian feel but God knows I don’t actually know a thing about Burkinabe/Malian architecture so don’t take my word for it.

Below, the private residence of the first president of Senegal, Léopold Sédar Senghor. He lived there after his presidency. It is now a museum and I started to take a tour there a few months ago, without realizing it is guided and you need an hour or two. I had 30 minutes. So in addition to IFAN, I need to go back to this place one day. (Apparently I should do more research before visiting museums here. But in my defense, it is impossible or at the very least a huge headache to research anything related to hours, locations or logistics in Dakar so the best course of action is usually to just go on a wild goose chase and hope for the best.)

I stopped in my tracks when I saw the building below. I think it is the most beautiful one in all of Dakar, even though the decaying apartment building I posted above is technically my favorite. The car rapides in front were also excellent set dressing at the moment I took the photo. 🙂

The building below is an understated charmer just a few blocks from my house. I could see it doing equally well in Miami.

And the final one is my neighborhood gym. I don’t think the midcentury lines come across very well in the photo, but in reality it gives off a 1950’s Asian crime syndicate film noir vibe.

And that’s all for now…

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