Modernist architecture can be found in many African countries, including Rabat, Mogadishu, Tripoli, and Casablanca, but Asmara, Eritrea stands out. With hundreds of structures showcasing simplicity in design and form, Asmara offers one of the world's largest collections of Modernist buildings.
Eritrea, an Italian colony in 1889, became the African capital of what the Fascists hoped would become a new Roman Empire, the Africa Oriental Italiana. The dictator flooded the country with resources and money for construction, creating a space for radical Italian architects to experiment with city plans. A new Modernist core was quickly added to a once small village, with hundreds of buildings and designs popping up before the Italians were driven out in 1941. Numerous examples of Italian and Rationalist styles still dominate the country today.
The Asmara Heritage Project has recently submitted several Asmara buildings for UNESCO World Heritage Site consideration. Giuseppe Pettazzi's Fiat Tagliero gas station, with its broad, streamlined, nearly 100-foot-long overhangs is one of the more flamboyant buildings currently nominated.
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