Vernon Benele Mwamuka

Architecture (Latin architectura, after the Greek ἀρχιτέκτων – arkhitekton – from ἀρχι “chief” and τέκτων “builder, carpenter, mason”) is both the process and the product of planningdesigning, and constructing buildings and other physical structures. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural symbols and as works of art. Historical civilisations are often identified with their surviving architectural achievements. WIKIPEDIA

The above definition is a Wikipedia definition and it encompasses some all facets of architecture. Architecture involves much more than just building habitable spaces, one should be able to look at architecture within a certain built environment and read its history. The first picture is Anwga City in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare in Africa, at first glance one would’ve thought that its a building somewhere in Europe or Asia.

In Zimbabwe there are many architects who have made it onto the world stage, the likes of Vernon Benele Mwamuka (the first black architect), still stands out as one of the foremost and most prominent architects Zimbabwe has ever produced. In his architectural portfolio, he has to his name the imposing ZB Life Towers, Construction House, Kopje Plaza, Old Mutual Centre, Four Ways Mall in Johannesburg and Joina City.

Vernon is cited third overall in Africa

Vernon is also cited in the top 100 Greatest Zimbabweans

Other most significant projects that brought him praise and respect include Africa University (Mutare)

National University of Science & Technology (Bulawayo)

Bulawayo International Airport (later finished by Studio Arts) and a chain of Post Offices strewn across Zimbabwe, all these completed commissions attest to Mwamuka’s creative identityHis works have left a very unique aesthetic impact on the immediate environment of the structures, revitalising the surrounding urban expanse as in the case of the Kopje Plaza (West of Harare). The Kopje Plaza completely changed the Skyline of the Kopje area, where a number of neglected buildings had become an eyesore, and a sign of urban decay.

Not only did the Plaza succeed as a retail and office centre, but it also helped to propel the Kopje area into its phenomenal re-development boom. This, in the years when there was a lot of construction activity.