The exploration, as an example of a research process, is my personal journey on how I came to frame research into the book ‘Modern Architecture in Africa’. It follows -- perhaps not too conventionally -- the escape from the dungeons of Western Modernism at the TUDelft, via the practice as a missionary-cowboy-architect in Africa, to reflections that formed the basis of the book.
It may seem a ‘do before we think’ process, but that is not altogether the case. The leading research question of ‘what is modernism in architecture’ has been the red thread in my work and thinking, still is the red thread today and probably will remain so until my demise. Possibly without being answered to satisfaction. But that is not so much a problem.
This question accompanied me on the journey and will do remain so for the remainder of the road. It is of such strength that if continuously fuels my thinking and practice, and forces me to move. There is, of course, a reason behind this question, which is the driver of my professional career.
Organizing the thinking process, framing the research and finding answers also commenced at an early date on my journey, but were only seriously gaining momentum with the establishment of ArchiAfrika and the projects that followed. These projects can be seen as cases on how architectural research can be organized and carried out, without twenty-odd years of working until coming to retrospective insight as seems to have happened to me.