THE BUILT HERITAGE
Here we discuss the important role that architecture and constriction has always had in the identity of different culture. We talk about the gradual disappearance of building traditions and skills. We touch upon projects deal with sites of with sites of a global importance and the political conflicts caused by “imported” heritage.
Building has always been of utmost importance and value for the expression of individual cultures. Traditional African architecture deeply rooted in nature and the environment. Tragically, a lot of it has disappeared, for a verity of reasons. Enough remains, however, that bears witness to the enormous variety of environmentally and climate appropriate constriction techniques and styles that constriction through their building
Architectural and constriction skills have had to be rediscovered generation after generation. The skills have been learnt through informative imitation and by correcting mistakes. Traditional architecture is the result of development based on centuries of gradual perfection. The “impluvium” houses of the doula in the calamancoes in southern Senegal, few of which remain, are an ingenious example of how to respond to the climate and the environment. The circular central courtyards function like funnels that collect rainwater openings let in plenty of daylight but solar radiation is kept out by the overhanging eaves. Comfort levels comparable to those found in these houses are dissimulated to come by in any contemporary African dwellings.
Senegal is only one of that could be cited and one of many that lessons could be learnt from. The architecture of the dog on people in mail has become a major object of pilgrimage for architects all over the word. This general growing interest in the built environment in Africa is likely to increase awareness on all level and lead to a better understanding of the link between culture and the man- made as well as the natural environment.
The problem of a disappearing building culture is not unique to the less industrialized countries. The tradition of building in wood in Finland today is at such a low level that we have to learn techniques from other cultures. The traditions as a small culture did not survive the economic and political on onslaught of the concert industry. Very few fins could today build even the simplest wooden structure whereas before the war it was commonplace for farmers to build their own house with very little professional help.
The spread to corrugated steel as roofing and walling material to replace thatched roof and clay walls in Africa and elsewhere is a symptom of similar cause. It is often said these “new” materials have become the symbol of urban
Life and wealth. The same kind of process has taken place at some stage in most culture that knows of as “developed”.
Few project related to the preservation and restoration of the built heritage can today remain on technical and “artistic” levels only. The socio- cultural and socio – economic element involved are usually so complex that project, by necessity, become model example of multi- disciplinary integrated approaches.
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