…. when Malagasy architects had their place in Malagasy society.

I insist on these 2 expressions “Malagasy … in… Malagasy” because in the year of grace 2022, us architects are no longer considered as architects, nor Malagasy, nor have no more a place as a Madagascar-born-bred practices (whatever that means btw) in our own country. to argue this statement which has become a general truth, I am taking you for a walk on a very beautiful journey that I have personally initiated in recent days. I was very inspired to dig in after the annual call from my alma mater high school for my annual presentation during the Forum des Métiers and especially because it coincides with the annual coaching I have towards young architecture graduates. Malagasy or international young people who want to do their Final Project on Madagascar mostly Antananarivo. I love this time of year every year when I learn stuffs from new generations and they are learning back from my extensive oversharing, googling and travelling and mostly oversharing. emotional oversharing.

Chapter I : did you know about Ramanakirahina 14 Hrs and all the builders before him?

neither did I…

so basically if you read this awesome book (I couldn’t finish it so I ended up not reading the section I am about to quote) so this great book mentioned to my knowledge few names worth to memorize cuz you will cross their names some time in time or else. It happened that back in 19th century, Malagasy architects were kind of “lapa people” means “hanging with cool guyz mostly powerful that make decisions ones”. of course I will respect copyright rules and will only publish less than 1% of the book sections below :

noticed it? me too. lapa masoandro.

also found on Outre-Mer’s archives database these notes on Ramanankirahana guy : http://anom.archivesnationales.culture.gouv.fr/

Mr. Ramanakirahina 14 Hrs.

Mr. Ramanakirahina 14 Hrs.


1st Class Governor

Attached to the Civil Buildings Department

Born in Tananarive on August 12, 1860. Raised since childhood by French people; has carefully observed the advice given to him by Mr J Laborde, an intimate friend of his father; worked a lot for the propagation of the interests of France in Madagascar. Collaborator of French engineers fighting against English competition.

In 1887 worked with Colonel Lavoisol to make the first plan of Antananarivo. At the beginning of 1888 accompanied Mr le Myre de Vilers on his tour to the Bay of St Augustin in Diego Suerez and served as his interpreter. Went to Paris to complete his studies in Architecture.

On leaving, appointed Academy Officer on July 1889. This is the first French decoration awarded to a Malagasy.

On September 30, 1895, days of crisis in Tananarive, is responsible for appropriate the parliamentary flag and presenting the Queen’s submission to General Duchesne. The next day is instructed by the Queen to receive the same General and his General Staff for their solemn return to the capital. He was the first Malagasy who set an example for his compatriots to enter the service of France at the start of the French occupation.

On December 26, 1895, General Duchesne sent him on a mission to accompany Colonel Marniser of the Engineers in his search for the old road of Radama 1er, from Antananarivo to Antananarivo. In March 1896 is with the Director of Travaux Publics to study the drilling of Pangalanes.

During the insurrection was attached to the Queen and appointed to enforce the orders of General Gallieni from the Grand Palace. At the time of the forfeiture of royalty, Colonel Gerard served for the execution of orders and was charged with Mr. Durand, to install the Queen in Reunion.

Did not stop working with the French authorities for the French cause.

next update will explain more on what “Honneurs” mean in Malagasy cast and social segmentation system. in 2022 it pretty much means nothing to me but I guess if you were stuck in 1890 and so mindset this stuff could come up pretty handful.

After I dug a little reading Nativel’s I found more on names that are also mentioned at Beaux-Arts. Laborde’s descendants, Samuel Harisoa and David Ramananjo who changed “Madagascar’s culture de l’architecture sans architecte” for the time being early XXth century.

David Ramananjo, Beaux-Arts

It was short-lived.

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