Browsing All Posts filed under »Africa«

Architecture For The Poor

October 3, 2010


In the 1940’s Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy attempted to start an architectural revolution. Soon after dedicating himself to rural or ‘peasant’ architecture and starting work with the Nubian Vault roofing and mud brick building techniques, Fathy took on the enormous and not-so envious task of re-locating the inhabitants of the village ‘Gourna’, near Luxor in […]

Djenné – Behind the Facade

April 6, 2010


Another talk on Djenne, this time by Charlotte Joy, an anthropologist at Cambridge, offering something quite different to the architectural perspective I have occupied so far. The many talks I have been to invariably open with an introduction on Mali, where it is etc, as one tends to to avoid any presumption of knowledge. Immediately […]

Djenné and Sustainability

March 21, 2010


When analysing mud building, the fact that the construction footprint (including transport of materials) is little bigger than the footprint of the site itself is surely the pinnacle of sustainable construction. In Djenné the buildings are predominantly flat roofed, wooden beams spanning the mud walls, covered with mud. With the source of wood being the […]


March 20, 2010


Djenné (jen-nay) is a settlement in the West African country of Mali. Situated on the river Niger, which provides both life and constraints. Every year the river floods, something that is an integral part of the town’s yearly eco-cycle. Djenné is positioned in such a way that when the river does flood it becomes almost […]

Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre

February 18, 2010


My faith has been renewed. Peter Rich’s Interpretation Centre in Mapungubwe is ray of light amidst a gloomy haze of substance lacking, globally styled Architecture. The masterly conceived cultural centre is built on a site of great local, cultural and historical significance, knowledge that is both respected and celebrated by the scheme. For me, this […]