This article situates the educational architecture of Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew in British West Africa in 1946-56 in the context of late British colonial policy. The analysis extends discursive readings of architecture with contemporary literary texts as aspects of what might be termed the material cultural fabric. These different forms of articulation illuminate the sociocultural dynamic underlying the migration of modernism in the postwar era, and the extent to which the movement affected and was appropriated by British colonial enterprise. It also discloses modernism's simultaneous disruption and reinforcement of the objectives of modernity, among which were the ideological and technical systems of British imperial expansion. On this basis, it is argued that Fry and Drew were constrained in their endeavor to resolve the divergent expectations within modernist theory concerning the application of universal principles to local conditions, and thus also in their aim of initiating a legitimate modern African architecture.

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