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Scholarship of Design
Building for “l’Authenticité”
Johan Lagae & Kim De Raedt
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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. Read the full article at Taylor & Francis.