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April 21, 2002

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During Italy's occupation of Eritrea in the early 20th century, Italian architects used Asmara as a proving ground for new ideas. They erected stylish buildings and villas that create the atmosphere of a southern Italian town populated by artists. Architecture is the attraction. Anyone with an 'A' level in archecticture can walk Asmara's streets, regard interesting buildings, and distinguish Art Deco from Cubist, Rationalist from Expressionist, Functionalist from Neo Classical. The rest of us see strange buildings.
The Fiat building, now a Shell gas station, looks ready to take-off. The unsupported wings of this building caused concern. When the builders completed it, they didn't want to remove the wooden supports from the wings. The architect put a gun to his head and said he'd shoot himself if the building collapsed. It didn't, and the architect lived to design another building.
Art Deco cinema stylizes Asmara's main street.
Zig zag school of design.