Posts in Architecture
Habitat traditionnel au Niger

Continuing our series "This Is Niger", here is another contributor short article about traditional rural architecture in Niger.

By Djamila Hamani

La population nigérienne est composée de differentes éthnies. Chaque ethnie mène un mode de vie spécifique qui présente un type d’habitat traditionnel. Les tentes sont habitées par les nomades tandis que  les cases et  maisons par les sédentaires.

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Construction Magic

Architecture is one of those fields that cannot fulfill its agenda by itself. For architecture to become reality, not only do we (architects) often collaborate on designs, but we then need engineers, contractors, consultants, etc. to bring our work to life. This is sometimes painful, full of conflicts that can make the construction phase the least anticipated stage of a project, only made palatable by the fact that said project will soon become reality. So imagine my shock when I recently realized that collaborating with the builders, artisans and contractors on our projects in Niger is becoming one of my favorite aspect of architecture practice!

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Secular Architecture on Sacred Ground

We have an upcoming project. Normally, we prefer waiting until a project is under construction before talking about it. But this one is special, so we are VERY excited about it. It is an adaptive re-use project in a village of Niger that turns the local mosque into a library.

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L'architecture en terre au Niger

L’architecture en terre désigne les techniques et réalisations de la construction en terre. Le matériau de construction que l'on nomme béton de terre, boue séchée, terre battue, pisé, torchis, adobe (mot d'origine arabo-hispanique adopté en américain) est employé depuis au moins dix mille ans. Il a servi à construire les premières villes connues.

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The Far-reaching Influence of Songhaï Architecture in West Africa

From the 11th to 16th Century, the Songhaï people had an empire that dominated most of the West African Sahel region and became, at its peak, one of the largest empires in African history. Its capital was Gao, but it saw the rise of well known cities such as Timbuktu and Djenné, which were important trading centers for the region.

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Contemporary Adaptation of Traditional Wall Decoration In Niamey

In a previous post we discussed Hausa traditional architecture and its decorative facades, their meaning and the socio-economic implications they traditionally held.

While wall motifs often held a deeper meaning than their decorative aspect, most homeowners didn’t know what that meaning was. Rather, for them, the symbol lied in the actual existence of the motifs on their wall.

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Mind shifts: Forget the hot water!

Branching out to the "developing world" (especially to Africa) as a new source of architectural work seems to be the new thing for Western (especially European) architects these days. It is becoming increasingly common to come across competitions, exhibits, books and even university courses on the subject. It is a difficult and daunting undertaking that can be exciting, scary, immensely rewarding, while being strife with pitfalls.

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Mind shifts: Limited means can yield greater beauty

As architects, we have been  learning to do more with less since the last economic downturn. This proves very difficult as through the years, creativity in architecture has too often been synonymous with the technically heroic, the strange, or the purely sculptural... and too often, the expensive. These projects push the technological envelop, and can be quite astonishing and awe-inspiring, which is great. But surely, architecture

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Approaches to Architecture in Africa

The other day, I was talking with some non-architect friends about the kind of architecture I want to do and my desire to explore how we as Africans can (and should) find new expressions for our built environment that are uniquely ours. New ways to move forward, as I put it. They were very intrigued, and wanted to know what I meant exactly, and how one goes about achieving that. I admit, I found it a bit difficult to answer their questions since I am still looking for the clue myself!

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