Great architecture captures the world’s attention — if it’s good enough, a single building can put a city on the map. These buildings are symbols of ambition as much as they are of beauty, and when leveraged correctly, they’re a worthy investment, attracting people and opportunities. All across Africa, daring architectural statements are taking shape in the private and public sectors. From bustling cities to the depths of the rainforest, they promise to bring new life to their surroundings. One of the last designs by Zaha Hadid that is still to be completed, the Grand Theatre of Rabat has all the panache one expects from the “queen of the curve,” who died in 2016. Sitting on a 55,000 square meter site and featuring an 1,800-seat theater and 7,000-person amphitheater, the center’s fluid design was inspired by the Bouregreg River that runs alongside it.Inside the theater, Hadid and her successor Patrik Schumacher take Moroccan muqarnas — ornamental vaulted ceilings in Islamic architecture — and translate them with a contemporary eye, creating geometry akin to desert rose crystals. Situated between the ancient cities of Rabat and Salé, the theater has been a decade in the making but is receiving its final touches.
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