Two reviews from Archidose

Contemporary Architecture in Africa

Contemporary Architecture in Africa

Unlike many architecture publications put out a few or more times a year, Boundaries gives each issue a theme and strictly makes the content fit the topic. The first issue (July-September 2011), for example, is called “Contemporary Architecture in Africa” and does an excellent in job in presenting buildings, projects, books, and histories on the continent. Each issue is structured into sections: News, Perspective, Architecture, Ideas, That Was the Year…, and Book Reviews. The Architecture section makes up the bulk of each issue and highlights particular types of buildings or related strands within the theme. In this regard, issue 2 — “Architecture for Emergencies” — collects buildings but also monuments, theories/research, and reporting around the timely and complex theme. That Was the Year is a great part of the magazine, as it features flashbacks usually decades back (a reprinted article or some such piece) that of course fit the issue’s theme: Aldo van Eyck’s 1959 essay on the Dogon is one found in the first issue, and Jean Prouve’s 1956 “House Built in Less Than Seven Hours” is one of the old projects highlighted in the second issue.

These first two themes make it clear that Boundaries is not concerned with the same issues as other architecture magazines; the editors prefer to focus on the under-served and the places of crisis today. This is evident not only in the themes but in the projects included in each issue (only the ultra-modern houses in “Contemporary Architecture in Africa” stand out…as designs that would probably be in other magazines but don’t really belong in this one) and the position that “Boundaries receives no public funding, and has no advertising.” The only “ads” to be found are for the Italian Red Cross and other emergency organizations. This makes me hope the magazine gains enough following to continue its exploration of architecture that is timely and relevant but often overshadowed by the usual big names and commissions that value form over social concerns. Boundaries may not be as photogenic as other magazines, owing to its dealing with the “social awareness of the profession,” but it makes up for that small defect (for lack of a better word) in its thorough coverage on a topic, varied viewpoints on the same, and a strong sense of history that makes one realize our problems are not new and neither may be the solutions.

by John Hill, @Archidose  (retrieved March 20, 2014)