The vernacular architecture of Africa
June 12, 2019 12:26 AM   Subscribe

The vernacular architecture of Africa (architecture built out of local materials and using traditional construction techniques) is very diverse. People build with what materials are locally available, and this varies due to what area of Africa it is. Click on a country icon to view the diversity and beauty of African vernacular architecture.
posted by the agents of KAOS (12 comments total) 49 users marked this as a favorite
This is an amazing resource for architects, designers and researchers. Thanks for posting.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:43 AM on June 12 [2 favorites]

I absolutely love the architecture from Mali. It's such a distinct and appealing aesthetic.
posted by Kilter at 4:31 AM on June 12 [4 favorites]

This is great.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:18 AM on June 12

What a cool project;thanks for posting.
posted by theora55 at 5:24 AM on June 12

I highly recommend Basabose Studio of Kinshasa, DRC and Johannesberg, SA
posted by hugbucket at 5:47 AM on June 12

I love this. Out of all of Africa, I've only been to Egypt, and then only to Hurghada. But I have spent a fair amount of time on various Pacific Islands and there is a similarly remarkable variety in vernacular architecture there.
posted by deadbilly at 5:54 AM on June 12

What a great resource! When I travelled through Africa in 2000, visiting 11 countries, I saw many of these styles and I loved noticing all the differences. It brings back a lot of memories to browse through the pictures.
This will keep me busy for a while, thanks for posting!
posted by Too-Ticky at 8:15 AM on June 12

This is lovely! Skeps for people! some similar very early "American" styles.
posted by Oyéah at 8:52 AM on June 12

This is wonderful!
To anyone as excited by this as I am- you may enjoy the excellent but hard to find book Architecture Without Architects.
posted by Adridne at 9:33 AM on June 12 [3 favorites]

FanTAStic. Thank you, agents of KAOS! I plan to share this out with my fellow teachers who are linked with our school initiatives in Ghana & Rwanda. It's stuff like this that makes me so love MetaFilter! (But not ONLY stuff like this. :o) Thanks again!
posted by foodbedgospel at 10:38 AM on June 12

I love this! A wonderful resource indeed, highlighting the diversity of housing and built culture in Africa.

I love vernacular architecture not just for its unique insight into the people, culture, and climate of an area, but for its potential application for many other parts of the world as we seek relief from an overheating world. This article does a good job of illustrating how people in hot arid places like the Middle East have minimized the sun's effects by the use of building materials (like in the Tunisia picture from the link), building placement (like the Mali link), and structural features like wind towers or vent placement. There is so much need for passive cooling and the structures we have in the United States are wholly reliant on air conditioning, which just accelerates climate chaos.
posted by stellaluna at 10:47 AM on June 12 [2 favorites]

Oh, this is wonderful! I grew up on books like the one Adridne above mentions - Architecture Without Architects - but at some point realized the title was just wrong. Of course these were architects; it just that a western tradition denied them that appellation.
posted by goofyfoot at 10:44 PM on June 12

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