Post-Modernism Feature 1- Robert G. Mugabe International Airport

Architectural Throwback
Post-modernism Feature 1- Robert G. Mugabe International Airport.

The Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport's new terminal is different from the airport's other terminals. It was built during the postmodernist era, inspired by the decorative designs found in Great Zimbabwe. The government had the clear intention of creating a unique Zimbabwean-style structure when constructing the terminal building. This was intended to promote Zimbabwe's economy by boosting the travel industry and marketing Zimbabwe to other countries.

The windows of the terminal station are arranged within horizontal chevron patterns inspired by the pattern inside Great Zimbabwe's Great Enclosure, a pattern that has been frequently incorporated in Zimbabwe's post-colonial architecture. The most impressive feature of this structure is the control tower, whose design incorporates the conical features of Great Zimbabwe's Conical Tower, which is inside the Great Enclosure. The control tower, as the focal point of airport communications and airplane control, is symbolic, similarly to the symbolism of the Conical Tower, which symbolized the importance of the old capital and served as a focal point of the Shona state.

The air bridges that serve as passageways for passengers' airplane boarding, protrude from the main terminal and, their exteriors appropriately decorated, are reminders of the passages leading to the Conical Tower inside the Great Enclosure. In contrast, the passageways' interior design is modern and lacking the traditional Zimbabwean architectural style. The only exception is a snack bar that is surrounded by four conical towers. As post-modernist architecture, Harare International Airport provides clues to better interpret the meaning of pre-colonial architecture, such as the Conical Tower at Great Zimbabwe.