Home Forums Architectural Designs and Structures From Africa African Vernacular Architecture: What is African Architecture?

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    Victor Patrick


      What is African Architecture?



      African Architecture is the structure of the African continent from north to south, from east to west, spanning prehistory to  historical, medieval to modern. African Architecture offers the artistic and technological utility of African dwellings and accommodation of the people. Most biased eurocentric scholarship has favored coping with the inventive element and ignoring the technical and historic. Such scholarship has selected to cope with the vernacular and forget about the ancient monumental structure– tombs, partitions, palaces, in aid of the view that Africa, specifically sub-Saharan Africa lacks those structure, contrary to the money owed of European explorers, Arab traders, and different outside site visitors to the continent. Ironically, the most important magnificence of monumental systems in Africa are south of the Sahara, in Nigeria, Sungbo’s Eredo and the Benin Walls. Of most recent development is the discovery of full-size use of fractal layout within African art and architecture– self-similarity, wherein the person elements are of the equal form as that of the whole.



      Vernacular Architecture





      African Vernacular Architecture extends to the advent of the human species. Some African Vernacular Architecture seem to have advanced some of the proto-ethnolinguistic businesses–Afroasiatic, Nilo-Saharan, Niger-Congo, and Khoisan organizations. Among the Afroasiatic, the improvement of a rectangular floor plan and flat rectangular roof. Among the West African Niger-Congo woodland dwellers are square ground plans with ridged roof or gable roof made from weaved palm. These structures might dot both aspects of single streets or along the riverbanks with the riverbanks representing streets. Among the Sudanic Nilo-Saharan, the cone shaped roofs and cylinder frame or cone on cylinder advanced. Dome shaped systems were the desire of the Khoisan(Ehret).



      African Vernacular Architecture makes use of lots of materials: grass, leaves, limestone, sandstone, coral, twigs, bamboo, raffia palm, hardwood, mangrove wood, papyrus reed, semi-wilderness soil, excessive clay content material soil or laterite soil, sewn goat pores and skin, woven camel hair, mud, mudbrick. Mud might be blended with shea butter, cattle blood, or farm animals dung.



      Common broad classes of vernacular hut and residence systems had been recognized:



      -Domical (beehive)



      -Cone on cylinder



      – Cone on poles and dust cylinder



      -Gabled roofed



      -Pyramidal cone



      – Rectangle with roof rounded and sloping at ends






      -Dome or flat roof on clay container



      – Quadrangular, surrounding an open courtyard



      – Cone on floor(Hull  71)



      – L shape plan



      The best structure is by way of the scherms (refuge) of the San, which is not anything but a ditch within the ground.



      The cone on cylinder was the maximum common for agricultural settlement communities south of the Sahara.  Pole could be planted and laced with dust. By the mid 1100s, partitions were being constructed with pure dust(Hull 51).



      On the grassland of southern Africa, a desire for thatch base domical structures changed into discovered. The hunter and gatherer, Hadza of Tanzania, additionally within the savannah, created domical structures of tied stick, with thatch on pinnacle. These structures were short to construct and required little or no power.



      Thatched cone on the floor was the desire of the Fipo of Tanzania and early Kanembu of Lake Chad.



      Rectangular structures could also be found of indigenous roots, just like the presiding of the Massai, the Hehe, and Gogo of Tanzania(Hull). The domestic of the Massai turned into typically 20 toes high. A frame of leleshwa sticks and saplings were woven collectively. Leaves were brought to the stick frame and farm animals’ dung was used to plaster the shape. Massai homes have been arranged in a round fashion, around the livestock region–the manyatta.  The Sebei constructed lengthy rectangular systems on the slopes of Mount Elgon in Uganda. In West Africa, close to the Gold coast and around the White Volta River, wonderful clay based structures with flat roofs and a crucial patio might be located. The Bangala of the Congo was constructed alongside huge streets and long square systems(Hull). The nomads like the Tuaregs built rectangular framed tents blanketed with goat skins sewn collectively.



      Square dwellings were also gifts. Ethnique groups just like the Panga in vital Congo lived in rectangular dwellings with sharp vertical roofs.



      Berbers or Amazigh have adapted to hot climate by constructing homes underground two memories down, usually painted white indoors



      African structure, the architecture of Africa, specially of sub-Saharan Africa. In North Africa, in which Islam and Christianity had a large have an effect on, structure predominates some of the visible arts. Included right here are the magnificent mosques built of mud in Djenné and Mopti in Mali, the rock-hewn churches of Ethiopia, and the Islamic monuments of coastal eastern Africa. Discussions of architecture in sub-Saharan Africa attention chiefly on housing in villages, rural mosques, and the mélange of colonial and contemporary influences that signify city areas.



      General Characteristics 





      African architecture displays the interaction of environmental factors—together with natural resources, weather, and plant life—with the economies and populace densities of the continent’s various regions. As stone is the maximum long lasting of building substances, a few historical stone structures survive, at the same time as other substances have succumbed to rain, rot, or termites. Stone-walled kraals which originate from early Sotho and Tswana settlements (South Africa and Botswana) and stone-coated pit circles with sunken kraals for pygmy farm animals (Zimbabwe) had been the center point of archaeological study. Stone-corbeled shelters and circular huts with thatched roofs had been additionally recorded in the twentieth century in a few of the southern Sotho. Rectangular and round stone farmhouses, unusual in being  testimonies, have been built by means of the Tiger of Eritrea and Sudan for centuries, whilst in Niger some Tuareg build rectangular houses in stone.



      Such exceptions aside, the overpowering majority of Africa’s thousands of peoples in rural areas build in grasses, timber, and clay. Because of the impermanence of lots of these substances, existing buildings, though based totally on forms of many centuries vintage, are of fantastically recent date. Where flora is essentially restricted to skinny grazing cover, peoples are regularly nomadic, the use of tents of animal skins and woven hair for shelter. In the veld and less-forested areas, grasses are used as building material as well, being employed broadly for thatch and mat roof coverings. Hardwoods in woodland regions are used for constructing, as are bamboo and raffia palm. Earth and clay also are predominant building sources. Characteristic soils of Africa encompass semidesert chestnut earths and laterites (reddish residuals of rock decay), which are often low in fertility however easily compacted. Earth-sheltered houses are made through the Iraqw of Tanzania, and some peoples in Mali and Burkina Faso have partly sunken dwellings.

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