ARCHITECTURAL INPIRATIONS OF WAKANDA
A dive into the vernacular architectural inspirations behind the stunning depictions of Wakanda in the Marvel film and comic, Black Panther.
SAM ASTON . APRIL 2018
SAM ASTON . APRIL 2018
As 'Black Panther' winds down it's historic box office run, becoming one of the highest grossing films of all time, extensive explorations of its cultural impacts are underway. Much of the critical dialogue has focused on the film's vivid depictions of the Afro-futuristic Wakanda civilization.
This society is understood to be a union of various tribes from throughout the continent, and the portrayals of Wakandan fashion, traditions and architecture span the breadth of the cultures represented. The writers and designers of 'Black Panther' carefully researched the aesthetics and practices of real world cultures throughout Northern & Sub-Saharan Africa to weave together an extrapolation of how these civilizations would develop technologically, and architecturally, given the parameters set within the Marvel Universe.
This exploration is in response to their efforts, which also focuses on the architectural vernacular and social traditions present throughout various regions of Africa. During this dive, a few surprising convergences of building and social traditions emerge, wherein nearly every culture studied valued similar things from buildings in ways different than other places in the world. This heightens the aesthetic value of the many differences which are also evident.
Below, the journey begins from the northern-most points of the African continent, then moves south in latitudinal order, to Southern Africa. It takes a look at historic building traditions of homes, religious structures, food storage facilities and community organization.
Again, buildings are the physical manifestation of a culture. From this exploration, we can infer many of the values elevated through the architecture of the cultures explored:
Many techniques shown are still occasionally employed. However, it has become clear that much of Africa is currently in the midst of an economic revolution, which is resulting in the emergence of a more international, contemporary architectural tradition. It is with these changes, combined with the impact of 'Black Panther', that many are reviving traditional architectural styles and combining them with modern construction methods. Perhaps this is what is needed for the various societies of the continent to strongly assert their identities on the world stage in aspiration to what the real Wakanda can be.