In the heart of Zimbabwe’s bustling capital, Harare’s Central Business District (CBD) stands as a testament to architectural finesse and innovation. These buildings, ranging from colonial-era gems to modern-day marvels, not only define the city’s skyline but also tell a tale of its rich history and vision for the future. Their facades, intricacies, and architectural nuances speak volumes about the city’s evolving aesthetic sense and its place in the global architectural landscape. In this article, we embark on a curated journey to explore the top 7 most beautiful buildings in Harare CBD. These are not just mere structures of brick and mortar but iconic landmarks that narrate tales of culture, history, and ambition. Join us as we traverse the streets of Harare, discovering the soul of the city through its architectural wonders.
1. ZB Life Towers
Perched prominently within Harare’s Central Business District, the ZB Life Towers is undeniably one of the most striking landmarks that the city boasts. Its significance isn’t just derived from its height or stature but from the architectural mastery and the stories it encapsulates. The sleek design of the tower, marked by its glass façade, allows it to shimmer under the African sun, reflecting the vibrancy of the bustling streets below. On the other hand, during the evening, the tower becomes a beacon of light, symbolizing Harare’s unwavering spirit. One of the standout features of the ZB Life Towers is its ability to blend functionality with aesthetics. The tower not only serves as an office complex but also offers panoramic views of the city, making it a sought-after location for businesses and establishments wishing to mark their prominence. Its strategic location offers commanding views of the cityscape and Africa Unity Square, enhancing its appeal to businesses and visitors alike.
The ZB Life Towers has a total of 19 floors. It has two basement parking levels, a ground floor dedicated to a shopping arcade, and an entrance lobby. The twelfth floor houses the head office of Mashonaland Holdings Limited, which is the company that owns the building. ZB Life Towers was designed by the first black Zimbabwean architect, Vernon Mwamuka. The building is situated at 77 Jason Moyo Ave (Cnr 2nd Street), Harare, Zimbabwe.
2. Angwa City
Among the architectural gems that embellish Harare’s Central Business District, Angwa City stands out, not just for its imposing stature, but for the contemporary brilliance it brings to the city’s skyline. With its unique blend of design and functionality, it’s a structure that signifies Harare’s strides towards modernity and its embrace of global architectural trends. Angwa City, with its gleaming glass exterior interspersed with elegant steel structures, captures the essence of urban sophistication. Its facade offers a dynamic play of light and reflection, creating a visual spectacle that changes with the day’s progression, from the golden hues of dawn to the muted tones of dusk.
Beyond its aesthetic appeal, Angwa City is a hub of commerce and enterprise. Its spacious interiors house a myriad of businesses, offering a blend of retail, office, and recreational spaces. The building’s design ensures that, despite its vastness, there’s an intrinsic sense of community and connectivity, making it a lively nexus in the heart of Harare. The project management, design, and supervision of Angwa City were handled by BCHOD Zimbabwe, who were the sole consultants for this award-winning project. Angwa city has 12 floors, and is located along Angwa Street (Cnr Julius Nyerere and Kwame Nkurumah Avenue).
3. Joina City
Amidst the architectural canvass of Harare’s Central Business District, Joina City emerges as a distinctive masterpiece, blending grandeur with innovative design. This iconic structure isn’t merely a testament to modern architectural prowess; it embodies the spirit of a rapidly evolving Harare, juxtaposing its rich heritage with a vision for the future. Joina City, with its sculpted contours and imposing facade, demands attention. Its meticulous design, characterized by the harmonious interplay of glass and concrete, captures the city’s vibrancy and reflects it in every pane and pillar. This multi-tiered edifice stands not just as a building but as a symbol of Harare’s ambition and its journey into the global urban landscape.
Inside, Joina City is a bustling epicenter of commercial activity and cultural exchange. It offers a diverse range of spaces, from high-end retail outlets to contemporary office spaces, all designed with an emphasis on comfort, functionality, and aesthetics. The mall within the building provides city dwellers and visitors alike a haven for shopping, dining, and entertainment, making it a focal point of urban life in Harare. But what sets Joina City apart is its commitment to sustainable and community-centric development. Its design prioritizes natural light and energy efficiency, showcasing how urban structures can be both beautiful and environmentally conscious. Beyond its physical attributes, Joina City’s essence is rooted in its role as a communal gathering space. It is a place where the past, present, and future of Harare converge, where people come together to share experiences, forge connections, and dream of a brighter tomorrow.
Joina City was designed by Vernon Mwamuka, the first black Zimbabwean architect. It features 3 basement parking floors that can accommodate a total of 600 vehicles, 4 retail floors, and 16 office floors. It’s the third tallest building in Zimbabwe after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe building and the NRZ Headquarters. Joina City is owned by Masawara Group Holdings (formerly TA Holdings), which was founded by Shingai Mutasa. It’s located at Corner Jason Moyo and Julius Nyerere, Harare.
4. Rainbow Towers
In the constellation of architectural wonders that dot Harare’s Central Business District, the Rainbow Towers stands as a timeless emblem of the city’s elegance, aspiration, and rich history. Its silhouette, dominating the skyline, offers more than just an architectural statement; it paints a vivid picture of Harare’s journey through the epochs. Rainbow Towers, formerly known as the Harare Sheraton Hotel, combines the grandeur of classic design with subtle touches of modern aesthetics. Its lofty stature, complemented by its symmetrical design, evokes a sense of reverence and awe. The building, with its cascading water features and meticulously manicured landscapes, becomes an oasis amidst the urban hustle, symbolizing Harare’s delicate balance between nature and development.
Internally, the Rainbow Towers is a haven of luxury and sophistication. Known for its world-class hospitality, the hotel has hosted numerous dignitaries, celebrities, and international events, further cementing its reputation as Harare’s premier address for luxury and diplomacy. The interiors, with their opulent finishes and attention to detail, reflect a commitment to excellence that resonates with visitors from around the globe. The hotel is not only known for its luxurious accommodation but also for its world-class conference facilities. The Harare International Conference Centre, part of the Rainbow Towers complex, is an esteemed venue in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa for hosting various events. Rainbow Towers is owned by the Rainbow Tourism Group Limited and is located at 1 Pennefather Avenue, Harare.
5. Eastgate Centre
Among the iconic structures that define Harare’s Central Business District, the Eastgate Centre holds a unique place, not just for its aesthetic appeal, but for its groundbreaking approach to sustainable architecture. As a testament to innovation, this edifice stands as a beautiful embodiment of Harare’s commitment to harmonizing urban development with nature. The Eastgate Centre’s architectural significance lies in its inspiration from termite mounds, a marvel of natural engineering. These mounds maintain a constant internal temperature despite fluctuating external conditions. Borrowing from this concept, the building’s design utilizes passive cooling techniques, minimizing the need for artificial air-conditioning. This biomimetic approach results in significant energy savings, making Eastgate Centre a paragon of green architecture long before it became a global trend.
Visually, the Eastgate Centre is a captivating blend of textured walls, open spaces, and labyrinthine walkways. Its intricate design provides a rhythmic flow of air and light, ensuring a comfortable environment within while reflecting the radiant energy of Harare’s streets. Beyond its technical marvels, Eastgate Centre is a bustling hub of commerce and culture. Its spaces house a myriad of shops, offices, and eateries, making it a central point of convergence for residents and visitors alike. The building pulsates with the vibrancy of city life, offering a microcosm of Harare’s eclectic spirit. In the tapestry of Harare’s architectural narrative, the Eastgate Centre emerges as a beacon of forward-thinking design. It challenges traditional notions of urban structures, proving that beauty and sustainability can coexist. Eastgate Centre is owned by Old Mutual, and was designed by a Zimbabwean, Mick Pearce. It’s located along Robert Mugabe street (Corner Second and Third Street).
6. Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Tower
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Building, also known as the New Reserve Bank Tower, is a significant architectural landmark in Harare, Zimbabwe. Standing tall with 28 stories at a height of 120 meters, it’s the tallest building in Zimbabwe and serves as the headquarters of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. The RBZ Building is lauded not only for its towering presence but also for its architectural sophistication. Architecturally, the design of the RBZ Building draws inspiration from the historical and cultural landscape of Zimbabwe. It is modeled after the conical tower in Great Zimbabwe, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an ancient city located in the southeastern hills of Zimbabwe near Lake Mutirikwe. The design also pays homage to the Shona culture, where food reserves were traditionally stored in tower-like structures, much like the RBZ Building. This architectural homage blends Zimbabwe’s rich historical and cultural heritage with modern architectural design, embodying a synthesis of the past and the present.
The RBZ Building, with its imposing facade, represents strength and solidity—fitting attributes for the institution it houses. Its vertical thrust, complemented by the intricate detailing of its exterior, creates a visual interplay of shadows and highlights, giving the structure a dynamic appearance that changes with the passing of the day. Inside, the building is a testament to the ideals of precision and clarity, reflecting the core functions of the nation’s central banking system. The interiors, marked by expansive halls and elegant finishes, resonate with the importance and gravitas of the institution’s role in Zimbabwe’s economic landscape. Beyond its role as the epicenter of monetary policy, the RBZ Building is an architectural icon in its own right. It’s a structure that seamlessly marries modern design principles with touches of local artistry, creating a distinctive landmark that is both contemporary and deeply rooted in Zimbabwean culture. It’s owned by the government of Zimbabwe and is located at 80 Samora Machel Avenue (Between 1st & 2nd street), Harare.
7. Karigamombe Centre
Situated in the vibrant heart of Harare’s Central Business District, the Karigamombe Centre stands as a distinctive landmark, blending contemporary architectural prowess with a profound cultural resonance. Its presence in the city’s skyline speaks to a synthesis of modern urban aspirations and a rich historical legacy. The name “Karigamombe” itself is deeply rooted in Zimbabwean culture, translating to “one who takes the bull by its horns.” This essence of strength, determination, and action is mirrored in the building’s robust design and imposing stance. With its sleek lines, modernist facade, and well-defined spaces, the Karigamombe Centre stands tall, embodying the dynamic spirit of Harare.
Architecturally, the building incorporates a fusion of glass and concrete, allowing it to shimmer in the daylight and radiate a subtle glow during the evening hours. This interplay of materials not only gives the Karigamombe Centre a unique aesthetic appeal but also ensures that it remains energy-efficient and harmoniously integrated with its surroundings. Internally, the centre offers a diverse array of spaces, housing commercial entities and offices. Its design prioritizes functionality without compromising on aesthetic allure, making it a sought-after location for businesses.
Karigamombe Centre is owned by the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) Pension Fund and is situated at 53 Samora Machel Avenue, Harare and the other side at 54 Kwame Nkurumah (Union) Avenue, Harare.
In the bustling heart of Harare lies an ensemble of architectural marvels, each narrating its own unique story. From the gleaming façades of modern edifices to the historic undertones of legacy structures, the Central Business District offers a visual feast that captures the essence of Harare’s past, present, and future. Buildings such as ZB Life Towers, Angwa City, Joina City, Rainbow Towers, Eastgate Centre, RBZ Building, and the Karigamombe Centre stand as testaments to the city’s architectural ingenuity, cultural heritage, and spirit of progress. While we have highlighted these gems, it’s important to note that there are many other beautiful buildings in Harare that we haven’t touched upon. We invite our readers to share in the comments section any other stunning edifices in Harare that deserve recognition. As we journey through the streets of Harare, these iconic landmarks, both mentioned and unmentioned, serve as poignant reminders of a city that is ever-evolving, yet deeply rooted in its rich identity. They are more than just structures; they are symbols of Harare’s vibrant soul, its dreams, and its aspirations. Let’s celebrate them together.