Walls of Great Zimbabwe (Masvingo, Zimbabwe)
Great Zimbabwe was an ancient city in the southeastern hills near the town of Masvingo. It was the capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe during the country’s Late Iron Age, and served as a royal palace and the seat of political power for the Zimbabwean monarch. One of its most prominent, enduring and impressive features are its stone walls, some of which were over 36 feet high extending over long serpentine courses. The magnificent structures with remarkably finished surfaces were constructed by stacking granite stones, one on top of another, without mortar.
The ancestors of the Shona people began construction of these great walls in the 11th century and continued until the 14th century, spanning an area of 722 hectares (1,780 acres) which, at its peak, could have housed up to 18,000 people. In the 1800s, European travelers and English colonizers, stunned by Great Zimbabwe’s grandeur and workmanship, attributed the architecture to foreign powers. Such attributions were dismissed when archaeological investigations conducted during the first decades of the 20th century confirmed both the antiquity of the site and its African origins.
Alice Lane Towers ( Johannesburg, South Africa)
With a curved facade constructed out of concrete, glass and aluminum, the Alice Lane Towers are intended to demonstrate South Africa’s progression in exploring new forms within corporate architecture. The 17-story towers boasts being the first high-rise building in South Africa to use a curved and completely glazed facade, made with low-energy glass and state-of-the-art glass-printing technology. Viewed from all angles, the building, which was built in the suburbs of Johannesburg in 2010, presents a uniquely patterned and highly abstracted surface of architectural elements that change constantly with the time and atmosphere of the day.