Researchers in Zimbabwe have been struggling to provide low cost houses, but now an answer may have been found. It turned out that the researchers did not need to go very far to come up with one of the best solutions to the problem. The Department of Science and Technology in the Office of the President and Cabinet is popularising the use of rammed earth as one of the cheapest ways of building a house.
Photo essay of La Fete de créppisage – the annual festival of plastering the great mosque in Djenne.
Brazilian photographer Jose Luis Berzal sends a link to a series of beautiful photos of adobe architecture from his recent trip to Mali.
Butabu: Adobe Architecture of West Africa by architectural photographer James Morris and Professor of African Art and Architecture at Harvard University, Suzanne Preston Blier, shows the sublime sculptural beauty, variety, ingenuity, and originality of Sahalian Architecture in the West African countries of Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Togo, Benin, Ghana, and Burkina Faso where people have been constructing earthen buildings for centuries.
Banco: Adobe Mosques of the Inner Niger Delta by Sebastian Schutyser and Jean Dethier (author of Down to Earth) et al., is a beautiful book with photographs by Sebastian Schutyser that reveal a neglected African architectural heritage: village adobe mosques. His black-and-white images emphasize an artistic fusion of architecture and sculpture and exalt the strength and beauty of a craft that eludes globalization. The photos emphasize the grain and substance of clay smoothed by villagers’ hands or cracked by erosion, and highlight the solidity of the masonry and the sensuality of the textures. The texts that accompany these stunning pictures are by a leading expert on raw-earth architecture and by a major scholar on African vernacular architecture. Included is an appendix that documents all 500 of the principal adobe mosques of the Inner Niger Delta, with the names of the villages and geographical coordinates. For more information visit www.sebastianschutyser.com