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Building for 'l'Authenticité': Eugène Palumbo and the Architecture of Mobutu's Congo

Johan Lagae (UGent) and Kim De Raedt (UGent)
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Abstract
In 1966, President Mobutu initiated his political doctrine of recours à l'authenticité in the Congo. Aimed at erasing all traces of Belgian colonialism, it not only led to interventions in social and political life but also found expression in a new state culture, embodied in art and architecture. We trace the impact of this doctrine in the work of Eugène Palumbo, an Italian architect who designed several iconic public buildings under Mobutu's reign. Palumbo's projects, we argue, highlight the tension of an architect seeking to develop an architectural language evoking both “authentic” Congolese culture and notions of progress and modernity.
Keywords
authenticity, Eugene Palumbo, postcolonial period, Congo, architecture

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Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

Chicago
Lagae, Johan, and Kim De Raedt. 2014. “Building for ‘l’Authenticité’: Eugène Palumbo and the Architecture of Mobutu's Congo.” Journal of Architectural Education 68 (2): 178–189.
APA
Lagae, J., & De Raedt, K. (2014). Building for “l”Authenticité’: Eugène Palumbo and the Architecture of Mobutu's Congo. JOURNAL OF ARCHITECTURAL EDUCATION, 68(2), 178–189.
Vancouver
1.
Lagae J, De Raedt K. Building for “l”Authenticité’: Eugène Palumbo and the Architecture of Mobutu's Congo. JOURNAL OF ARCHITECTURAL EDUCATION. 2014;68(2):178–89.
MLA
Lagae, Johan, and Kim De Raedt. “Building for ‘l’Authenticité’: Eugène Palumbo and the Architecture of Mobutu's Congo.” JOURNAL OF ARCHITECTURAL EDUCATION 68.2 (2014): 178–189. Print.
@article{5761064,
  abstract     = {In 1966, President Mobutu initiated his political doctrine of recours à l'authenticité in the Congo. Aimed at erasing all traces of Belgian colonialism, it not only led to interventions in social and political life but also found expression in a new state culture, embodied in art and architecture. We trace the impact of this doctrine in the work of Eugène Palumbo, an Italian architect who designed several iconic public buildings under Mobutu's reign. Palumbo's projects, we argue, highlight the tension of an architect seeking to develop an architectural language evoking both “authentic” Congolese culture and notions of progress and modernity.},
  author       = {Lagae, Johan and De Raedt, Kim},
  issn         = {1046-4883},
  journal      = {JOURNAL OF ARCHITECTURAL EDUCATION},
  keywords     = {authenticity,Eugene Palumbo,postcolonial period,Congo,architecture},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {178--189},
  title        = {Building for 'l'Authenticité': Eugène Palumbo and the Architecture of Mobutu's Congo},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10464883.2014.937235},
  volume       = {68},
  year         = {2014},
}

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