Lilongwe City Council angry with architects behind ‘shopping malls’ designed like barracks and school blocks

The Lilongwe City Council has expressed dissatisfaction with architects saying they are designing shopping malls that look like barracks or school blocks.

The council has written the Malawi Institute of Architects (MIA), in expressing concern over lack of creativity or imaginations from the relevant authority in designing.


In a letter dated 17th October, 2019, the council’s Chief Executive Officer John Chome said architects use the same template by architects for all their designs.

“We would like to ask architects to treat each building differently and to spend time in thoughtful and creative designs. We cannot have a city where all buildings are ‘the same’.

“Sometimes to cover up for design ‘laziness’ we see an overdose of 3D impressions which sometimes differ from the actual designs.

“There is a craze these days to build rows of shops christened as ‘shopping malls’. Sadly architects are designing what look like barracks or school blocks passing as ‘shopping malls’ with monotony and no attempt is made to break the monotonous row of shops,” Chome said.

It has also been revealed in the letter that some architects provide minimum supervision to their calling and do not provide professional advice to clients. This is because they are more concerned with getting the job done while overlooking quality.

Other issue which the letter brings to light include the designers’ failure to prioritize car parks in their work, designing of low buildings and failure to pay attention not just to the building they are designing but also to the space in which the building will sit.

“Often buildings are designed as if they have just been parachuted into a space and bear no relationship to the lie of the land, adjacent buildings, trees,” Chome wrote in the letter.

The council Lilongwe City Council has vowed to enforce provision of adequate parking. It has also declared that it not allow inferior designs and unprofessionalism to detract from the attractive and liveable Lilongwe we want to create.

Malawi’s capital is experiencing infrastructure growth with a number of buildings being planted. Being Malawi’s flagship city, its management is striving to bring variety in the infrastructure.