This book attempts to answer the African architect’s constant professional dilemma of adherence to the concept of “modern African” architecture, while recognizing that Africans no longer wish to live in traditional-style dwellings as their life sty
le and housing needs continue to evolve.
The direction taken by Epée Ellong, and Diane Chehab, is to follow traditional African architecture through time to today’s African architecture, to show the contradictions in the social and technical transformations through various historical phases.
To accomplish this work, Epée Ellong delves into his own experience and knowledge of Central Africa. He traveled extensively within Cameroon, and spoke with locals, including traditional chiefs and village elders. The illustrations and images that accompany the text show the construction phases of traditional and contemporary architecture, as well as everyday objects. Many historical and linguistic references are used in order to better explain the changes on both a human and architectural level. Subjects covered in the book include:
-Historical migrations in Africa
-Traditional architecture in Cameroon
-The consequences of social changes on architecture and construction
-The evolution of housing in Cameroon
-Thoughts on the future of African architecture.
What we need in order to publish this book:
We need a minimum of $9,000 (USD) to edit, review graphics, and print the book, which will most probably be about 230 pages in a 8” x 10” format, with many color illustrations. The rewards proposed include, depending on the pledge, illustrated color bookmarks, a book, a signed book, a telephone conversation, or even your name mentioned in the book.
Why was this book written?
There are few books that explain the relationship between history, colonization, sociology and architecture in Africa.
Epée Ellong is a native of Douala, Cameroon. He is an architect, trained at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, France. In 1983, he founded an architectural firm, CAEE, with his spouse, Diane Chehab, an American-born architect. The philosophy behind CAEE was to reincarnate African traditional architecture into modern design. A home whose basic materials are bamboo and palm fronds, and no electricity or running water, can’t be automatically transformed into a contemporary dwelling. Epée drew upon traditional symbolism and masks to “Africanize” CAEE’s architecture. The firm designed projects in Cameroon, Guinea, and Ivory Coast.
CAEE’s projects brought Epee to many parts of Cameroon, where he was familiarized with the country’s ethnic, cultural and geographic diversity. He met many regional traditional chiefs who provided him with the background of the architectural and social upheavals brought on by the arrival of Europeans. Together with these chiefs, he put together a nomenclature of the typological elements of traditional construction.
Epée has been practicing architecture in the United States since 1995. He has also taught Afro-centric architecture within specialized workshops, and speaks at American universities and at the Museum for African Art in New York.
Diane Chehab was born in the United States, lived in several countries and continents, and studied architecture at the Lebanese University in Beirut and at the Beaux Arts in Paris, France. She married her colleague, Epée Ellong, and moved to Cameroon to manage their architectural firm. She learned Duala, her spouse’s language, to better understand the culture.
We thank you for helping us realize this project. We would be very grateful if you could pass the word on to your friends and family; share on Twitter, Facebook, etc. using Indiegogo’s tools. Here is the link: http://igg.me/at/delacasealavilla
Questions? Please email us: Padouk@PadoukDesign.com Indiegogo is a crowd funding site. If you wish to contribute to a campaign, you click on "contribute now" and choose your contribution. "Perks" are offered - in our case, a bookmark, a book, a signed book, etc... depending on how much is pledged. They charge you, but if the goal is not reached, you get your money back. You do NOT have to sign up for an Indiegogo membership to contribute, and you can use a credit card; you are NOT forced to have a Paypal account (even though it seems so!).