Architecture is undeniably one of the major sectors that can be improved upon to upgrade and uplift the quality of life in 3rd world countries. As most of the third world countries of the world develop, architecture is now much more than just creating a mere shelter. It is about creating and designing a true piece of art and these influential architects from third world countries are proving this to not only Africa but the world too.

Below is the list of 10 Influential Architects from 3rd world countries:

1. Akosua Obeng | 3rd World Countries

Akosua Obeng is a Ghanian Architect specialized in Project Management and Coordination, Programming/ Planning, and Specifications. She graduated from the Department of Architecture in 2005 and relocated to the UK and together with Bovis Lend Lease worked on the Queen Mary’s Hospital in Roehampton. After returning to Ghana she joined OOA in June 2009 and later made Partner in 2016.

Also passionate about Sustainable Architecture, Akosua Obeng makes presentations for local and international workshops and conferences on behalf of OOA. Not only is she a speaker but a writer too and her writings on Sustainable Architecture are of great value in educating readers about Architecture and Sustainability.

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_© ?

2. David Adjaye 

David Adjaye is an internationally recognized British Ghanian Architect. With his first office which he set up in 1994, Adjaye’s use of materials and sculptural ability crafted an Architect with a true artist’s sensibility and vision. Today his firm Adjaye Associates has projects in the UK, US, Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East with offices in London, New York, and Accra.

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© Dezeen

With some of his major influences being contemporary art, music, science, and African art forms, his frequent collaborations with contemporary artists on installations is of no surprise. The 56th Venice Art Biennale, The Upper Room, Within Reach, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art for 21st Century Pavilion are some of his notable works. Other outstanding works of his are the Idea Stores in London and Smithsonian Institute National Museum of African American History and Culture to name just a few.

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Moscow school of Management; _© Dezeen

3. Francis Kere | 3rd World Countries

 Francis Kere is a Burkinabe Architect and founder of Kere foundation and Kere Architecture. His first building, Gando primary school paid homage to the small community that supported him during the early stages of his journey. Francis Keres style incorporates acquired knowledge from his studies and traditional building methods from Burkina Faso.

© Architectural Digest

Some may even call him an advocate for sustainable architecture because of his building concepts which encompass using locally sourced and natural materials. Gando Primary school, Gando library, Gando Teachers Housing, and Gando Secondary are just a few of his nationally and internationally recognized award willing works. Francis Kere has projects not only in Burkina Faso but in Mali, Uganda, Kenya, Germany, and the US.

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Wooden art pavilion for Tippet Rise; _© Architectural Digest

4. Mphethi M. Morojele

South African born and currently based Architect Mphethi M. Morojele is the founder of MMA Design Studio. His national and international award-winning work uses the African landscape and native knowledge. Mphethi M. Morojele spent his childhood in different parts of Africa and this exposure gave him a deeper sense of the particularities of place and context be it culturally or socially.

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 In his work, the concept of Planetization is seen and this concept states that we all inhabit the same planet and we should be working according to natural systems and bio-zones that occur across borders. 

Mphethi M Morojele is also a frequent speaker and has curated exhibitions on South African Architecture at the Royal British Institute for Architects and Venice Biennale among others. 

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South African Embassy in Addis Ababa_

5. Kunlé Adeyemi | 3rd World Countries

Kunle Adeyemi is a Nigerian architect, urbanist, creative researcher, and founder of NLE which is based in the Netherlands. He is an internationally recognized architect for his innovation and originality. 

The Makoko floating school in Nigeria is undeniably one of his projects that pays testament to this. This project has progressed into being the ‘ Makoko Floating System’ (MFSTM) which is a simple, prefabricated, building solution for developments on water. The system has to this date been implemented in 5 countries around 3 continents. 

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Some of his other globally recognized projects include the Black Rhino Academy in Tanzania, the Serpentine Summer House in London, UK, and A Prelude to the Shed in New York. He is an award-winning Architect and has held positions on international juries. 

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Expansion of Makoko floating school in China_Designboom

6. Assumpta Nnaggenda Musana 

Assumpta Nnaggenda Musana leads a design studio in her hometown Kampala Uganda. The first female Ugandan to receive a Ph.D. in Architecture, her works have been dedicated to sustainable built settlements and low-cost housing schemes in developing countries. She is also an educator at Makerere University in the Department of Architecture and Physical Planning. 

In addition, she is a member of Technology Consults (TECO), an initiative started by former educators at the university which allows educators to work with students and allows them to be of assistance on projects. As an educator, she is an inspiration to her students and especially urges the female ones to be resilient in this mainly male-dominated field. 


7. Emma Miloyo

Emma Miloyo, the first woman to graduate from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology with a first-class honors degree in Architecture is an architect, businesswoman, and educator. She is a partner at DesignSource; a firm focused on using local materials and techniques. The firm particularly deals with energy, hospitality, and energy projects. In all her projects, she focuses on sustainable design and concepts in traditional African construction and believes that African architects should not lose track of their inherited basic principles and keep those ideas in new African buildings. She has also held leadership positions and as the first female president of the Architectural Association of Kenya, she continues to be an advocate for equality and inspiration and mentor to the youth. 

© Twitter
© Twitter

8. Mokena Makeka | 3rd World Countries

Mokena Makeka is an Architect, urbanist, and design strategist as well as the founder of Makeka Design Lab in South Africa. His design practice focuses on innovative design solutions at an urban, cultural, and cultural level. He expresses more than just beauty in his designs and this can be seen in most of his work. His work in the remodeling of the Cape Town Railway station and Railway Police Station pay testament to this. These places were initially meant to separate white from black people and are symbols of apartheid.

 Not only is Mokena Makeka an architectural designer but he is also behind a fashion and lifestyle brand called House of Makeka. He is an award-winning architect and has been chosen with other great architects to design the industrial Chinese city. 

© The Legacy Project
© The Legacy Project

9. Maliam Mdoko 

Maliam Mdoko is a Malawian architect and first female president of the Malawi Institute of Architects (MIA). She is currently the Projects Manager at the Press Trust which is Malawi’s foremost local charitable institution whose work focuses on public benefits like education, health, and social welfare.  


10. Victoria Heilman | 3rd World Countries

Victoria Heilman is a Tanzanian architect and educator whose advocacy for sustainable design and construction can be seen in her works. She is the founder of VK Green Architects Ltd and co-founder of Tanzanian Women Architects for Humanity whose primary focus is enhancing social justice by enabling women to spearhead building adequate shelter for underprivileged communities in Tanzania. 

© ResearchGate
© ResearchGate



Zyabo M'hango is an art enthusiast with a huge case of wanderlust. She believes that all forms of art intertwine as one and hence her pursuit of bringing Architecture and writing as one. When she's not working on her design projects, she's planning her next travel destination.