Thursday, January 4, 2018

Leopoldville 1930s – Postcards from the Art Deco (V)

This post continues the earlier Art Deco tour of Kinshasa. Click on the link below for the previous post.
Leopoldville 1930s - Post Cards from the Art Deco (IV)

25). Cie Industrielle Africaine Building. Heading north up Ave. Kasavubu, turn left onto Blvd. 30 Juin. On the right is an early structure built before the railroad tracks were transferred south, opening up the right of way for the construction of the Boulevard (Jan. 23,2011). An early photograph of the rail line shows the Compagnie Industrielle Africaine building, a company founded in 1928 in Elisabethville (Lubumbashi), but with representation in Leopoldville. The location looks correct, but the façades of the respective buildings don’t quite match. Perhaps a future find will illuminate. In any event, in the mid-2000s, the building housed the offices of the accounting firm, KPMG.  Today, the façade is shrouded in one of the billboard sheets that cover many of the tall buildings in town – unloved and unknown.
View looking down the railway line - the Cie Industrielle Africaine building is at left.
The building housing the KPMG offices in 2006
The building today - "To tonga Congo" means "Let's build Congo" in Lingala.

26). Force Publique Depot. Further down the Boulevard, turn left onto Ave. Liberation (ex-24 Novembre and Josephine Charlotte) then right on Ave. Gombe to Ave. Forces Armees. The colonial army, the Force Publique maintained a supply depot here on the road leading to Camp Leopold II (Camp Kokolo). In July 2017, the completed reconstructed facility was inaugurated as the Collège des Hautes études de stratégie et de défense (CHESD).
The Force Publique Depot looking down Ave Prince de Liege toward the Boulevard.
The interior court of the Collège des Hautes études de stratégie et de défense (CHESD).
A few art deco inspired villas face Boulevard 30 Juin, but by the time the Boulevard was being extended towards what is now Rond Point Socimat, International Style and Tropical Modernism were in vogue.
A villa on Blvd. 30 Juin near Cimetiere de la Gombe
(27). Cotex Concession. At the end of the Boulevard Ave Mondjiba (Ave. Engels) begins at the former Utexleo (UtexAfrica) complex.  The Cotex concession facing the French Embassy is a singular example of industrial art deco design.
The Cotex compound during the reconstruction of Ave. Mondjiba in 2011.

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