The buildings, which date to the 1930's when the "Office du Niger" was established at Segou by the French colonial administration, are good examples of the architectural heritage of this colonial period. Similar buildings are found throughout West Africa and are characterized by a similar massing and layout. The typology was influenced both by the Modern Movement of 1920-1930 and by the continuing traditions of indigenous architecture, notably with regard to the nature of details and colouring.
New organisational concepts were introduced to accomodate the functions for which these buildings were planned. References to traditional architecture was employed to facilitate their integration within the colonized societies. In these examples in Segou (for which only scant information is available), the care taken in their maintenance represents a valuable first step in the re-assessment of this architecture and its contribution to the architectural heritage of the country.
The value of this architecture, although it often stood as a model for post-Independence building programmes, has long been ignored, mainly due to the political connotations implicit in its aesthetic. Thus, retoration and maintenance projects such as this would signify an end to the denigration of colonial architecture, and a recognition of the positive contribution it has made not only to new typologies, but also to the vital enrichment of the architectural vocabulary.
Source: Aga Khan Trust for Culture