This talk revisits one of the most under-researched topics in the history of 20th century modern architecture: African and Asian engagements of architects, planners, and construction companies from socialist countries. Upon their arrival to postcolonial Ghana and Nigeria, architects from socialist Hungary, Poland, and Yugoslavia drew analogies between the historical experience of Eastern Europe and West Africa as underdeveloped, colonized, and peripheral. This talk will show how these analogies allowed them to draw upon specific design tools and procedures from Eastern European architectural culture – and how their work in West Africa testified to the limits of these correspondences.
Łukasz Stanek is Senior Lecturer at the Manchester School of Architecture, The University of Manchester, UK. Stanek authored Henri Lefebvre on Space: Architecture, Urban Research, and the Production of Theory (2011) and edited Lefebvre’s book Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment (2014). He published on cold war mobilities of architecture between socialist countries, West Africa, and the Middle East, which is the topic of his forthcoming book. Before Manchester, Stanek taught at ETH Zurich and Harvard University, and received fellowships from the Center for Advanced Study in Visual Arts (Washington D. C.), among other institutions.