"Its value lies ... in the unforgettable impression made by the whole an entire city of splendid buildings combining to create an urban effect of extraordinary fascination and beauty."
Read all about the architecture of Sana'a
I recently found out what "art nouveau" is. Many of the faded Cairo buildings are art nouveau then. So Cairo's golden age must have been around the time these were built: between the World Wars. "No city on earth has as much architectural variety as Cairo..." While it's a jumble out there, the pictures on this Cairo architecture website remind one that taken individually there are fine buildings the whole city through. To love the look of Cairo, zoom in. Well, there's also the Nile. It's hard to screw that up.
In Yola, architecture is evolving. It's fun to watch. I'm in a "modern" part of Girei, outside Yola proper, in which the occasional storeyed house has been built. Most houses are either very much mud brick and thatch affairs, covered in earth, or made of mud but coated in cement. I live in something "in-between": it's built of cement, but so earthily, you imagine that it would soon return to join the rust-brown earth from which it came. I assume the walls are so soft because they use cheap cement mixtures, i.e. high ratio of sand to cement. I like it. The layout is simple: one long rectangle, one level only, divvied up with parallel walls into identical sections. Each section is a main door leading to a room, with an inner door and another room and a bathroom behind it. Join these side to side in a straight line.
Lagos would be the Cairo analogue. Money is flowing in from "somewhere" and it's going into building at perhaps the most rapid pace in the world. To make any sense of this city's architecture, zoom in tightly. There is no method to the madness. My parents' home is actually very fine, and there's a neighbouring house that I find very unusual and inspired. It's solar-powered, very large and square, white, with huge open balconies on the top floor. The open plan suggests Hacienda? The white-block-ishness is Islamic? Balustrade would be some sort of traditional - what? Renaissance Italian? What is this place? Someday I'll find out. I can just ask the owner, a cool lady I haven't seen in years. In Lagos, the government is doing up the highways from horrific to nice, also very rapidly. Add electricity and water and we'll be on our way...
Got to run now.