Master Planning in Malawi (Source: Civil + Structural Engineer)

Dec 1, 2018

By Robert Donahue, AIA.

Seasoned with skeletal reminders of our architectural and engineering history, our cultural world savors residual remnants of our past that echo in cathedrals, pyramids, and aqueducts. Previously reverberating acoustics, some ruins now simply resonate craftsmanship of stone masonry, structural stone rib vaults, or graceful architectural proportions.

Devoid of those skeletal ancient ruins, Malawi is a country whose past becomes synonymous with the present. Simple sunbaked clay brick homes topped with shaggy grass-thatched roofs slowly melt in the rain, eventually returning to the earth from whence they came. Villages organically develop along shop-laden roads backed by homes with neatly swept bare dirt yards and goats milling around central maize granaries. The Malawian landscape looks virtually the same as the British explorer Dr. Livingstone encountered in the late 1800s when exploring interior Africa and discovering the lake now bearing the country’s name.