The architecture of traditional house in Africa

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Geographical features in Africa

Africa is the third largest continent in the world, after Asia and America. Africa has the largest desert in the world, many rainforests, rugged mountains and vast prairies.
The culture of Africa is the cultural mix of indigenous people so the architectural histrory of this continent is extremely rich and varied.

African traditional architecture
African traditional architecture

Architectural features of African countries

Because of the dangerous weather, the houses in Africa are often built thick wall to keep the sun during the day and fight the cold air at night. The roofs in Africa are often used thatched roof.
The architecture in Africa often use many materials such as wood, mud, rock,… North Africa uses stone and rammed earth, Africa’s forests use dry and mortar, West Africa uses mud, Central Africa uses plant, wood and perishable materials, South Africa uses stone, thatch, wood.
These houses are named Somba or Tammari, built in the shape of mushroom, it’s so low. Each household lives in the house made from earth regardless hot or cold. All houses have the doors facing the west. The house has 2 floors, one for cooking and living, another for sleeping.

Round house

This is the most common type of house in Africa. From Egyptians, Nigieria, Kasssena, Sukuma to the people in Sahara build the house according to this type.
Walls were built by earth, rock. The house has thick wall and don’t have window, it has only few hole to take the sunlight. The door is only 0.5 meters high so the sun doesn’t shine too hard and the animals aren’t able to penetrate.

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The round house
Roofs have the shape of dome or circular dome, it were built by earth or thatch. The roof has trusses made from pile attached to beams and small wooden stakes.
Thatched roof is heat-insulating but it’s not durable.

Cylindrical house

The houses or the barns of Batammariba people were built in the shape of cylinder, it has flat or conical roof. The roof has the wooden drain.
Walls were built by the moist earth or mud bricks. Then, the houses will be hardened by the sun.
Some houses also have the wooden fences outside and the scaffolding to support the structure.

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The cylindrical house

Square house (rectangular house)

Sukuma people in Tanzania often build square houses or rectangular houses. These houses are surrounded by brick wall. Almost rural houses don’t have the basement, only have the brick on the ground. However, now basement is used, it’s built by mud, ximen or adobe.

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The square house
The roof is roofed by thatch, bamboo truss structures are connected together by the ropes. The frames of door and windows are made from bamboo. The adobe wall is covered the layer of clay or mud. 

Asante house

The Asante traditional houses are the last vestige of Asante culture that dominate area in the 18th century. Asante house has the fairly homogeneous structure with 4 rows of house surrounded the large yard, it’s built by wood, bamboo, gypsum and the thatched roof. Because it’s built from perishable materials, so this architecture is easy damaged by weather changes. In 1980, the Asante traditional houses were been recognized as World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.

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The Asante house

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