Changes and persistences of traditional architectural shapes in Burkina Faso

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The subject of this work is the result of a research conducted at the Department of Architecture of the University of Palermo, aimed at analyzing the state of the art of traditional architecture of North-West African countries and the effects that the modernization process of the habitat led on these, through the introduction of new building materials and advanced technologies imported from industrialized countries. The country examined at present is Burkina Faso, in sub-Saharan Africa, one of the poorest in the world and in Africa and, for this reason, one of the most susceptible to the economic and technological superiority of the industrialized countries that control and profit by the local resources. The research made use of the results of a study trip, during which were carried out visits and inspections in some cities and local communities of Burkina Faso. These inspections allowed us to verify if, how and to what extent the technologies of the so-called industrialized countries , have influenced the constructive tradition of developing countries. For the purposes of the research, an intervention method was defined that envisaged the following activities: 1.Visits to places and inspections in urban and extra-urban communities; 2. Architectural relief of some inland housing settlements 3. Historical reconstruction of the origins of the features of coexistence and of the living structures present in the different territorial contexts; 4. Analysis of the landscape individualities and settlement traditions of the ancient local communities; 5. Identification of local resources and technologies; 6.Incidence of the use of new materials and advanced technologies; 7. Proposals for the development of the local traditional heritage and its integration in the new architectural context, through the promotion and use of local types and materials and the improvement of the technologies applied to them. The results of the research have shown that although the big cities are places dedicated to the importation and diffusion of technological development in the constructive field, the materials and the new generation construction techniques have in some cases been used for the development of suitable technologies and passive systems for achieving thermo-hygrometric comfort of homes. Even in rural areas, in villages and communities far from the most convenient communication roads, it is evident the diffusion of non-traditional materials such as metals and plastics that have almost completely replaced the materials traditionally used in specific uses. The studies conducted have found correlations and synergies with the activities developed within the discipline of the Environmental Design of Master's Degree in Architecture of the Department of Architecture of the University of Palermo.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationActions for a Sustainable World: From theory to practice. Book of Papers The 24th International Sustainable Development Research Society Conference (ISDRS 2018)
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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