Panel Discussion on Reviving Hausa Traditional Architecture

This project forms part of a portfolio of projects that aims to address the general knowledge, understanding and conservation of the Hausa tradition in Northern Nigeria. It aims at study of the evolution of classic northern cities and the incorporation of such findings to future developments that are being planned for the cities. The project however goes further to understand the evolution and application of building systems and the methods at which they are applied in the numerous building types from the City Walls to the Palace Gates, to the Central Mosque up to the Madarasa (Islamic schools) all the way to markets and individual homes.

There is a lot that can be studied here and with the proper understanding of both our indigenous architecture and the Modern architecture, professionals like planners, architects and engineers can formulate ways of incorporating both so as to conserve and update our fore-fathers practices

The event which took place on the 20th of February, 2016 at the Avenue Event Center, Murtala Mohammed way was attended by Architects, town planners, historians, journalists, legislators, government agencies and many others. The event was hosted by two shapers, Abubakar Bunza and Halima Halilu.

The first speaker Prof. Sule Bello presented a paper titled: Hausa Traditional Heritage; A Historical Perspective. He talked about the origins of Hausa Traditional buildings and how they have evolved over the years. He urged the people to be more proactive in studying and saving historical artefacts because in his words “any society that does not have museums lacks the ability to study its history”.

The second speaker Arc Ibrahim Haruna made a presentation on Hausa Traditional Architecture defining Hausa Architecture as the art of shaping the environment to serve the requirements of Hausa traditions comfortably and efficiently. Arc Ibrahim Haruna went further by discussing in detail the major influences of the traditional Hausa man which are environmental, religious and cultural factors. He holds the view that Traditional Architecture cannot be said to be wholly revived with the satisfaction of only one goal – (that of USE). One has to look at other goals of architecture – STRENGTH AND BEAUTY. The strength aspect of traditional materials is a great limitation to the success of the revival. Arc Ibrahim Haruna therefore called for for intensive materials engineering research to improve the quality of these materials at industrial level.

The third speaker Yusuf Usman who is the Director General of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments delivered a lecture on the role of government in reviving Hausa Traditional Architecture. He spoke about what the government is already doing to protect Nigeria’s historical heritage and his commission’s plans for the future which includes creating incentives such as long term soft loans to encourage those that build using traditional architecture.

The Panel discussion moderated by Arc Faisal Ben Umar focused on Solutions to Challenges Facing the use of Hausa traditional Architecture. The Panelists were Arc Ibrahim Haruna, Director/Partner, Multi-systems Consultants. Architects, Planners & Project Managers, Alh Abbas Dalhatu, Managing Director Freedom Radio, Hon. Ibrahim Bala Hassan, a member of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, Arc Nasir Minjibir, Director, Development Control at the Kano Urban Planning Agency and Retired Brigadier General Abdulrazak Mohammed, Founder, Department of Architecture, Bayero University Kano. It was very informative as panelists laid out various solutions to challenges facing Hausa traditional architecture. Some of the suggestions included engineering a social shift through prominent members of the society leading the cause by building their homes in the Hausa Traditional Architectural style. Hon. Ibrahim Bala promised to set up a parliamentary sub-committee on the preservation of traditional architecture. The session was concluded with a questions and answers from the audience which were answered by the panelists.