Asmara: A Hidden Architectural Gem

Posted on 2010/04/19

Fiat Tagliero Service StationFiat Tagliero Service station Asmara, Eritrea

Aptly, the first post should be about the city of Asmara where the idea for the project Another Africa really started to crystallize.  I was amazed to find out that along with Tel Aviv,  Miami South Beach and Napier, Asmara has one of the worlds largest collections of modernist and art deco architecture. Though the city is in decay the buildings still speak elegantly of their former glory.

For a little insight into the city, read Jeffrey Gettleman’s editorial piece from The New York Times titled  Recalling La Dolce Vita in Eritrea (Oct 2008). If you have a keen interest in the architectural history of the city the book Asmara: Africa’s Secret Modernist City is the perfect read. More images from this book to come soon. In the meantime, a selection of some of my favorite buildings.

Fiat Tagliero Service Station

On Mereb Street/Sematat Avenue formerly called  Via Ugo di Fazio/Viale de Bono.

Architect: Giuseppe Pettazzi (1938)

Cinema Impero

Cinema Impero

On Harnet Avenue/176-21 Street formerly called  Viale Mussolini/Via Lorenzini.

Architect: Mario Messina (1937)

Asmara Swimming Pool

Originally called Piscina Asmara on Via Bottego, now called 171-2 Street/Qohayto Street.

Architect: Arturo Mezzedimi (1945)

[Imgs courtesy of Vin Di BonaAcasad]

Last but not least, for those of you curious about where exactly Asmara is located on the African continent.

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