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  • Asmara – The „Secret” Modernist City of Africa

    Haus der Architektur, Graz, 10. – 31. 07. 2010.

    Text: György Szegő

    By 1991, that is just over two decades now, when Eritrea was liberated, Tel Aviv had grown to be the largest united Modernist city of the world. And quite soon Asmara, the capital of the colony preserved in its intact form was rediscovered by Italian fascist Modernists. Nowadays attempts are made to save the realized utopia with a series of rehabilitation projects and by applying for the World Heritage list to preserve it as a magic icon of Africa to be reborn in the hope of a better life in its next life-stage. This is why this exhibition has been designed so as to separate architectural import from political intervention, even though we must add that this is a slightly stilted, artificial aspect of the project which is fine otherwise. Because there has never been an example of a seamless integration of regional lifestyles, traditions of architectural culture and international architecture creating a sustainable structure. This is why it is a miracle that the modernism of Amsara has come down to us: it is a fascinating spectacle of architectural value well worth preserving.