Fry & Drew’s Tropical Architecture
in the Dry and Humid Zones
Università IUAV di Venezia
The Edwin Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew are best known for their role in the construction of Chandigarh alongside Le Corbusier, however their Indian experience was proceeded by a long career in West Africa that began during WWII and lasted until the end of the 50’s. Fry&Drew were active in Ghana and Nigeria constructing an impressive amount of buildings: schools, universities, houses, villages, office buildings and museums. Their on-site experience was conceptualized in the book Tropical Architecture in the Dry and Humid Zones published in its final version in 1964. This paper aims to analyze the manual as the attempt to establish a cosmopolitan and modern design system specific for the tropical areas. An experimental and scientific approach that saw in climatic data a tool in the creation of a new rootedness of modern architecture not based on cultural analysis or vernacular reinterpretation but on the complex analysis of local conditions in order to provide inhabitants with suitable design solutions. Tropical Architecture in the Dry and Humid Zones as a manifesto of a regionalist modernism, two apparently opposite terms that find a reconciliation in a design system that seeks to build
a new cosmopolitan modernity.
Fry & Drew, tropical architecture, Ghana, Nigeria, Africa, climatic design, cosmopolitism