By Sam Stewart Mutabazi
One of the great architects/ Planner I admire is Constantinos Apostolou Doxiadis the great Greek town planner credited for designing Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan. I must confess though, one of the reasons why I like him is his name Doxiadis. He studied in depth the science of Human Settlements. He was never recognized in his native country Greece but was easily accepted as one of the greatest architects. Until his death in 1975, his works were quite obscure. Architects are not known to be noise makers. They leave their works to speak for themselves. One of Uganda foremost architects is William Ssentongo of Ssentongo and Partners.
They are the brains behind great masterpieces such as State House Entebbe, Workers House, Bank of Uganda, and Centenary Bank among others. William Henry Ssentoogo founded the company in 1979. Mention any big building project in Uganda and it’s likely to be associated with Ssentongo. Architects are the unsung heroes of a country. Just like Doxiadis, there are many silent architects in Uganda that the public may never get to know about.
Architects are creators. They are innovators who get ideas from their heads on to the paper and later translate them into concrete that finally turns out into beautiful buildings. They create things out of nothing. They use their imagination to create extra ordinary pieces in form of buildings and other structures. Architects speak less and allow their work to speak for them. They are motivated when they see their pieces of their work standing. They don’t seek for recognition. They are not ostentatious and they are not self gratifying. They don’t look for attention and showiness. Their names are only pronounced when a structure they designed has cracks or if it collapses. They are humble people who don’t know how to explain their significance to society.
Architects are easygoing people with few words. They would rather speak with their paper, computer, pencil in hand than go on a microphone to proclaim their greatness. They have learnt to accept that theirs is a very important profession yet unexplainably thankless. They design tall towers where the mighty and the rich relax. The offices, restaurants, boardrooms, churches, mosques, bungalows are all ideas from the architects’ heads. Their blueprints become a marvel to those who look at them. Tourists are hypnotized by great pieces of architecture but rarely do they pause to ask about the brains behind such pieces. Architects are like good chefs in the kitchen who prepare great dishes but are rarely recognized by guests that enjoy the meals.
Very few countries recognize the role played by architects. Next time you see a great structure, take some time to think about the brain behind it and take a bow at the great mind that conceptualized it from nothing to a masterpiece.