Reviving Hausa Traditional Architecture

Avenue Event center Kano (opposite old Daula Hotel)

There are several Kingdoms spanned along northern Nigeria which have been instrumental in the development of the region most especially during the Colonial periods. Most of these kingdoms are still active within their respective states and are well respected by their respective Democratic Governments. Over time, each kingdom has developed its own culture and language which has also seen an increase in diverse art and cultural practice. Kano is the largest city in Northern Nigeria, a well-known Sub-Saharan trade hub from the 16th Century that was known for Kola nut, textile (tye-and-dye) and exquisite crafts. It is home to one of the oldest walled city in the world, and also the renowned Kano Emirate. Between the late 70’s up to the 90’s the city had a peculiar mix of Colonial architecture (especially in official residences) and Traditional Hausa Architecture (within the City wall and some state offices). Over the past 8 years, Kano State has witnessed a massive increase in development of infrastructure and adaptations of city wide expansions to curb the ever-growing population and increasing influx into the city. However, there is an overwhelming feeling of the high western influence especially in Commercial and Institutional Buildings.

This project forms part of a portfolio of projects that aim to address the general knowledge, understanding and conservation of the Hausa tradition in Northern Nigeria. It aims at study of the evolution of classic northers cities up to and including the incorporation of such findings to future developments that are being planned for the cities. The project however dives in 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.

Presently the development of Nigerian Cities is on a broad scale, large suburbs are now coming up, and adequate planning is being adopted by the government to tackle over population, over-crowding in urban centres and inadequate transportation systems. For the city of Kano, this takes a more detailed approach as the coronation of the new King has led to increased maintenance and renovations within the main palace and its surroundings. Questions like “How can we adopt the traditional architecture into these upcoming developments and still maintain the use of modern materials?” can be answered by this study. This is not an impossible feat as it has been done before numerous times, the main obstacle faced here is the study of such practices which will lead to discussions, and articles, criticisms and papers that will define and also update such practices to fit the modern day requirements of everyday spaces. The incorporation of Traditional Hausa Architecture into School Curriculum to build the exposure and develop interests in furthering the practice. Problems Hindering Development of the traditional practices

 Need for long term study by Academics  Improve the Conservation practice  Westernization of Architectural Methods  Client Pressure to conform to the “current trend”
All these problems over time have led to poor adaptation in practice, decreased options if applied, Inadequate incorporation with modern practices.

Proposed Shape Event
The Global shapers Kano Hub proposes a one-day plenary session that will be attended by the academics, state government officials, private developers, architects, planners and also the most important of all the users (clients). By dividing it into 2 parts with a breakout session in between where three panellists are given 10-15 mins to introduce and identify the situation on ground so that the audience can understand the views of the experts as to the problems that are hindering the development of our indigenous architecture from surpassing the western influenced architecture. For the breakout sessions, we shall invite the various schools of architecture to submit Case Studies of existing marvels showcasing our indigenous architecture as well as projects that incorporate such characteristics by students that can be displayed to further cement our message. For the second part we hope to have one or two plenary sessions where by the experts discuss and analyse one another’s views and with the help of questions submitted by the audience formulate solutions and action plans that could pave the way for all parties to embrace and adopt the indigenous style over the “burrowed” styles.

Stakeholders to be invited:
Nigerian Institute of Architects
All HoD’s of Architecture departments in Northern Universities
State Planning Agency
Civil engineers
Private Developers
Maginan Kano (Local Builders)
End Users

Arts and Culture | Sustainability and Environment