This essay is concerned with how architecture was imagined to mediate tropical climate in the interest of forming productive postcolonial national subjects. It charts a transition in approach from late colonial to postcolonial modernist architecture as it was exemplified in the design of the University of Ife campus in Nigeria in the 1960s by an Israeli team led by Arieh Sharon in collaboration with the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Sharon's team formed an alternative to the postwar predominance of sun-shading devices, specifically as the British colonial architects Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew employed them in their design of the neighboring University College Ibadan campus. The essay considers the midcentury discourse on sun-shading devices in relation to the contemporaneous theory of “human capital” and demonstrates how this discourse drew from the eighteenth-century notion of architectural “character,” which links the productive capacities of different races with architectural representation.

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