Citation
The prominent mud construction techniques in the Islamic world

Material Information

Title:
The prominent mud construction techniques in the Islamic world origination, transfer, and adaptation
Creator:
Maghrabi, Amjed Abdulrahman
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
viii, [69], 4 leaves : illustrations, map ; 29 cm

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Building, Adobe ( lcsh )
Building materials ( lcsh )
Earth buildings ( lcsh )
Vernacular architecture ( lcsh )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 68-69).
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Architecture.
General Note:
College of Architecture and Planning
Statement of Responsibility:
by Amjed Abdulrahman Maghrabi.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
36764287 ( OCLC )
ocm36764287
Classification:
LD1190.A72 1994m .M34 ( lcc )

Full Text
Architecture Thesis
The Prominent Mud Construction Techniques in the Islamic World:
Origination, Transfer, and Adaptation
Submitted by
Amjed Abdulrahman Maghrabi
Department of Architecture
In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Architecture
University of Colorado at Denver
Colorado
Fall, 1994
AL


University of Colorado at Denver
WE HEREBY RECOMMEND THAT THE THESIS PREPARED UNDER
OUR SUPERVISION BY AMJED ABDULRAHMAN MAGHRABI ENTITLED
THE PROMINENT MUD CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES IN THE ISLAMIC
WORLD: ORIGINATION, TRANSFER, AND ADAPTATION BE ACCEPTED
AS FULFILLING IN PART REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARCHITECTURE.
Committee on Graduate Work
Committee member
Committee Chairman
Prof. Phillip Galleg
Prof. Phillip Tabb


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
List of Figures
Chapter One:
Figure 1.1 : The origination of the man made shelter architecture.
Figure 1.2: A nomadic tribe with a livestock
Figure 1.3: The ship of the Sahara; shelters are carried by camels
Figure 1.4 : Black tents in Africa
Figure 1.5 : Nomadic shelter found in North- west Kenya
Figure 1.6 : The two prominent hut structures found in Afghanistan
Figure 1.7.a.b : Different structural technique are applied because of climatic variations
Figure 1.8: The seasonal change of tent orientation
Figure 1.9.a.b : Different techniques of tent architecture.
Figure 1.10: Different stages of constructing a hut shelter in Afghanistan
Figure 1.11 .a : A compound of scattered huts shelters
Figure 1.1 l.b : Scattered yurts in northern Afghanistan
Figure 1.12 : Two different summer hut shelters in Afghanistan
Figure 1.13 : The two main tent structures; the vaulted and the Peaked
Figure 1.14 : Bigger size tents were made for furniture and other storage materials
Chapter Two:
Figure 2.1: Different dwelling approaches found in the desert
Figure 2.2: The grass oriented technology in the in South and West African settlements
Figure 2.3: Earth oriented technology across the African and Asian desert
Figure 2.4: The construction of the hut dwelling in South Africa
Figure 2.5: One of the oldest structures that was built 1500 years ago.
Figure 2.6: The methodology of constructing the dome in Afghanistan
Figure 2.7: The vault construction technique
Figure 2.8: The roof construction
Figure 2.9: Rammed earth construction in Morocco
Figure 2.10: Molecular settlement pattern
Figure 2.11: Nucleated settlement pattern
Figure 2.12: Linear settlement pattern
Figure 2.13: The family members participate in the process f construction
Figure 2.14: The transformation process from the grandfather to the father to the children
Figure 2.15: The women and girls participation
i


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
Figure 2.16: The process of transferred technology between society generations.
Chapter Three:
Figure 3.1: The valley of mud brick in Yemen, illustrate how dwellings are related to the
environment
Figure 3.2: Hot climatic zones of the world
Figure 3.3: Diagrammatic explanation of the three climatic cycles each at night, noon,
and afternoon
Figure 3.4: One of the bazaar (central market) in Iran covered with the type of dome
originally found in Egypt
Figure 3.5: Setting the proposed plan on the site
Figure 2.6: Section in the foundation trench
Figure 3.7: Different sun-dries bricks sizes
Figure 3.8: A wall constructed with rammed earth
Figure 3.9: Coursing and Pudding, midmak, dwelling construction in Saudi Arabia
Figure 3.10: Multilevel houses in Yemen
Figure 3.11: Different techniques and colors for plastering
u


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
Table of Contents
List of figures
Table of Contents
Acknowledgment
Abstract
Preface
Chapter One
THE ORIGINATION OF ARCHITECTURE TECHNOLOGY
1.1 Transition From the Cave
1.1.1 Understanding the nature
1.1.2 Process of shelter architecture
1.2 Nomadic Generation
1.2.1 Nomad influence on shelter technology
1.2.2 Material and technology
1.2.3 Construction of nomadic shelters
1.3 Semi Nomadic Generation
1.3.1 Transition from nomadic to semi-nomadic settlement
1.3.2 The source of the semi-nomadic shelter
Chapter Two
TRANSFER OF MUD ARCHITECTURE TECHNOLOGY IN RURAL
COMMUNITIES
2.1 Rural Settlement Generations:
2.1.1 Architectural derivatives: from shelter to dwelling.
2.1.2 Elaboration of Dwelling forms
2.1.3 Evolution of the settlements:
2.2 Transition of Technology within the Society
2.2.1 Contribution of family members
iii


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
2.2.2 Contribution of society members
2.2.3 Transformation within the generation
2.3 Cross Cultural Transformation
2.3.1 Cross cultural communication
2.3.2 Impact of city location on the transformation process
2.3.1 Transformation versus architecture of parallel technology
Chapter Three
THE ADAPTATION OF TRANSFERRED TECHNOLOGY
3.1 Adapting the technology
3.1.1 Diffusion of Technology
3.1.2 Limitations through adaptation process
3.1.3 Appropriating the technology
3.2 Societies with Appropriate Technologies
3.2.1 Architecture Deformation
3.2.2 Intermediate technology in context
Chapter Four
ILLUSTRATIONS OF DWELLING CONSTRUCTION ELEMENTS
THROUGHOUT THE ISLAMIC WORLD
Preparing the brick
Foundation
. Wall
Flat roof
Dome an vault
Finishing
Conclusions and Further Recommendations
References
IV


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
Acknowledgment
I gratefully express appreciation to Professor Phillip Gallegos, from whom I have
learnt a lot in this field. His overview of issues and methods and sensitive review of
research techniques were much needed. His guidance in every level of this study is
invaluable.
I respectfully acknowledge Professor Phillip Tabb at the architecture department, who
supported me with valuable hints and recommendations in this research.


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
Abstract:
It is usually inferred that construction techniques similarities are due to their
transfer within and between cultures and societies. One of greatly scattered self-help
structures distributed across a large geographical areas and share a great similarities are
the mud construction technologies (MCTs). The body of literature pertaining to these
structures deal with visual appearance and design of mud technology while studies on the
chronological evolution and the parameter affecting their development and spread are
largely ignored. The issue of this work is to investigate the parameters affecting the
evolution process (origination, transfer, and adaptation) of the prominent mud
construction techniques throughout the Islamic world and specifically the role of
individuals in this process. Briefly, this study reviews the literature and extracts the
parameters influencing the evolution of MCTs. This research concludes that similarities
observed between the MCTs in different geographical regions are due both to transfer of
technology and parallel development of technology (independent evolution). The parallel
development of technology correlates with factors such as climate, socio-economic, and
the abundance of local materials. In addition, the role of individual is the most effective
element in the evolution of MCTs.
VI


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
Preface:
The need for protection from weather and other environmental factors is the main
reason that led man kind to seek shelter. Caves were occupied as the first natural refuge
from these factors. Nomadic shelters were the first man-made structures that were
developed. These developments have been modified according to various parameters.
Mud has been one of the essential building material utilized by many civilizations.
One of the main impetus that this study was undertaken is the fact that many
architects and engineers are not fully aware of a very important technology, namely Mud
Construction Techniques (MCTs), that is extensively used by today's so called self-help
societies. Even though, many articles have focused on mud architecture from the design
and visual appearance perspectives, only a few however, were concerned with topics
pertaining to construction technologies. United Nations Industrial Development
Organizations, (UNIDO) adopted the mud technology as one of its classified four
construction techniques categories (Shakur, 1991). Today, as the world approaches the
end of the twentieth century, vast geographical areas are inhabited by hundreds of
millions of low income and illiterate people that are still primarily dependent on the local
earth-materials for building shelters, dwellings, and other needed facilities. Dethier
(1982), in his book Down to earth, reported that more than 30% of the world's population
still inhabit mud houses. In fact, about 50% of the Muslims around the world use MCTs
in almost all of their architectural and construction developments. Therefor, MCTs
research and studies can provide improvements and guidance dearly needed by many
societies to enhance the utilization of the such techniques for the improvement of living
standards.
Vll


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
The main objective of this study is to investigate the most prevalent mud
construction technologies in the Islamic world. Emphasis is concentrated on the
evolution process ( origination, transfer and adaptation) of these technologies by such
self-help societies. Specific objectives are as follows:
Review and summarization of the literature available in this field.
Investigation of the extent of similarities in construction between different
geographical Islamic settlements.
Investigation of the parameters affecting the evolution process of these
techniques. Special emphasis is given to the role of the individual.
Development of tables and figures correlating specific techniques of construction
to the evolution process for specific geographical areas within the Islamic world.
This research consists of four chapters. The first chapter discusses the parameters
affecting the origination of techniques and highlights the ways in which tents and huts
architecture, which are the two prominent nomadic shelter techniques, found across the
African and Asian deserts. The architecture of huts and tents are influenced by the
nomadic and semi-nomadic style of life. The second chapter focuses on the process in
which mud technologies was transferred and handed down from one generation to
another within and between societies. Third chapter discusses the process of the
adaptation of transferred technology. Chapter four concludes this study with the (i)
illustrations of mud architecture techniques available throughout different geographical
Islamic settlements, and (ii) tables showing the evolution of different techniques in the
process of constructing the dwellings.
Vlll


Chapter One
THE ORIGINATION OF ARCHITECTURE TECHNOLOGY
1.1 Transition From the Cave
1.2 Nomadic Generation
1.3 Semi Nomadic Generation


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
1.1 Transition From the Cave
1.1.1 Understanding the nature
Human beings occupied caves as a source of initial natural protection from the
surroundings. The pressure of surroundings led mankind to explore the urgency of
sheltering. On the other hand, acquiring knowledge regarding the physical laws of earth
stressed mankind to comprehend natural basic laws including gravity, loads, forces,
material weight, ..etc. The combination of these elements led human beings to
appropriate the primitive man-made shelter.
Man departed cave looking for food and other living resources. This implies'
transition' from cave and initiates the process of shelter architecture. As a result, Shelter
is considered as the first protection accomplished by human beings. In addition, shelter
architecture is an outcome of other factors that will be discussed next.
1.1.3 Process of shelter architecture
The first man-made shelter was governed by various factors that gave rise to the
Primitive architecture that explores the idea of architecture origin," The most invidious,
and also imprecise, implying either a primitive origin to 'architecture' which the buildings
represent, or 'primitive' people who build them" (Oliver, 1987).
Human beings recognized that shelter is a component of materials where every
material has its own weight. The phenomenon was the outcome of trial, error and
experimentation techniques. Moreover, no matter how simple or complicated, shelter
were exposed to the same natural laws. Thus, people recognized that for a shelter to last,
it must resist its own component's loads. Shelter was also strained from time to time by
wind and occupant's movement that caused collusion. The accessibility to a wide range
of material guided humans to originate their shelter technology. Wood strips from tree
branches, poles and leather of hunted animals were initially applied for sheltering.
Humans, then, practiced experimenting those materials that, in turn, enhanced their skills
later.
In general, the man-made shelter architecture was an outcome of the following
determinants (figure 1.1):
Understanding of natural laws.
Environmental influences (weather, climate, wind, sun ...etc.)
3


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
Accessibility to a wide range of materials.
Trial, error, and experimentation techniques.
Skill of the mankind.
Figure 1.1: Determinants of the man made shelter architecture.
1.2 Nomadic Generation
1.2.1 Nomad influence on shelter technology
Livestock and water resources controlled nomadic way of life. Shah (1980)
points out the influence of Nomadism as a way of life by saying:
" Since the stocks-rearers are dependent on the availability of
grazing land for raising livestock, often its maintenance at one
place is difficult because of topography, climate, vegetation and
water resources cannot sustain livestock for long period,".
This process generated into shelter technology. Nomadic shelters were composed of
leather, wood sticks, grass and rips. The components of shelter structure vary according
to nomads way of life, accessibility to natural material and movement of tribes. These
movements had an extraordinary influence on nomadic shelter structure (figure 1.2),"
Nomadic populations whose ability in adapting to their environment is often remarkable,"
(Oliver, 1987). In addition, Oliver (1987) notes that nomads," Over more than seventy
4


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
years [nomads] covered some twelve thousand miles, in long, zigzagging routes, making
use of the whole territory and some times penetrating well beyond,".
Having little experience, people in the desert established shelter after generations
of trial, error and experimentation techniques that resulted in a form of a tent or hut.
Tents and huts were the two prominent desert shelters that had been originated by nomads
in Africa and Asia. Shelters were made of light materials for transportation," Nomads
have developed tents of extraordinary lightness and durability," (Bourgeois, 1989). Packs
of donkeys or camels were used
for carrying shelter elements as
travelers migrate to new grazing
lands. Most desert nomads in
Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and
other African nomadic
settlements utilized camels to
transport tents, huts and yurts
structures from one place to
another (figure 1.3).
Figure 1.2 : A nomadic tribe with a livestock
1.2.2 Material and technology
The process of developing the ordinary shelter form to an appropriate one took
place through generations of practice. The shelter forms were influenced by three
integral pressures; climatic, social, and environmental ( Archer, 1971). Male and female
participation, selection of appropriate material and environmental controls are main
factors that assist appropriating shelter architecture, these will be explored:
Male and female participation : The involvement of women in shelter
architecture relied on cultural values and religious aspects. When an immigrant
group settles in an area, men and their wives prepare the new living places," The
women will have settled down to their domestic tasks, cooking, spinning or
weaving while the men obtain wood and water, do the repairs, twist new ropes,
and tend the animals"( Oliver, 1987). In a nomadic group like Kung San in South
Africa, men usually insert the poles and prepare the site, whereas women do most
covering of the construction (Oliver, 1987). In North Africa such as Algeria, it
5


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
was known that the tents which were used for living were usually contrived by
women, whereas those constructed by men were usually for special ceremonies
and weddings purposes (Lebbal, 1989). Thus, the architecture of shelter
technology is jointly produced by man and woman participation to improve their
built environment.
Selection of appropriate material: Nomad groups utilized materials as they had
access to. Materials that are more durable will last, whereas those that collapse
will be replaced by other materials or applied in a different techniques based on
experience. Nomadic shelters in the desert are constructed in many different ways
and the most prominent are discussed below.
Tents : In a nomadic group with livestock, tents are the main form of sheltering.
Although its construction differs from one nomadic tribe to another, tents are
made of striped woven hair and poles," The poles crossing with covers of striped
woven hair in shades of gray and brown sewn together in strips" (Lebbal, 1989).
For instance, the vast majority of the Islamic world uses the black tent' (figure 1.4).
Oliver (1987) stated that the black tent is widely spread across the Islamic world
map (figure 1.15):
" While there are many variations of form and detail in
the tent of different peoples in Iraq, Turkey, Arabia, or Algeria,
6


Architecture Thesis
Fail 1994
they have much in common, suggesting perhaps, a single source
far back in time".
Black tents are also constructed by Afghani tribes; Baluch, Brahuis, Durrani, etc.
The construction technique of the black tent was extended from North Africa and
Egypt through Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan and finally to Afghanistan,
(Szabo and Barfield , 1991). The existence of black tents in Egypt and
Afghanistan demonstrate how technology can be transfer from one area to
another.
Figure 1.4 : Black tents in Africa
Huts: Huts is the most predominant remarkable skeleton frame found in
Afghanistan and South Africa. On one hand, huts in South Africa structure differs
from tent's for it is constructed by restraining the bent poles (figure 1.5). The
tensioned structure frame of bent poles is the skeleton of the nomadic hut
structure that is then covered by mat, bush, or cheap woven hair (Oliver, 1987).
The skeleton of the huts are considered tensile structures that is can resist severe
weather changes in those areas.
7


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
On the other hand, the technique found in Afghanistan is considerably
different from the preceding one. The freestanding skeleton huts structure in
Afghanistan do not perform a structural purpose (figure l.6.a.b)," Huts are not
dependent on tension
exerted by guy ropes
via a roof cloth to
remain standing,"
(Szabo and Barfield ,
1991). While most of
huts in Afghanistan
and South Africa are
portable structures,
huts in South Africa
seem to be more
durable than those in
Afghanistan.
Figure 1.5 : Nomadic shelter found in North- west
Kenya
a
b
Figure 1.6 : The two prominent hut structures found in Afghanistan
8


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
Environmental controls : Nomads have developed tents and huts of
extraordinary techniques to meet climatic variation. Considering that climate
varies from one nomadic group to another due to location, wind and sun
movements and winter and summer seasons, nomads were stressed to adapt tents
and huts architecture accordingly. For example, the pitch of the tent in Morocco
is steep and the ridge is high due to snow and rain that falls frequently (figure l.7.a),
whereas in more arid regions such as Egypt or in southern Iran (figure l.7.b), the
pitch is flatter.
The rear end of the tent is usually closed and oriented against dusty winds,
while more openings usually face
cool and pleasant wind. Such
achievement suppresses inner tent
temperature up to fifteen degrees
centigrade cooler than the outer air
(Szabo and Barfield 1991). During
winter, nomads change their shelters
orientation to protect themselves
during the cold nights(figure 1.8). In
his investigation on Rabaris
nomadic group in India, Shah (1980)
mentions that people erected the
tents only in the afternoon for
protection from burning sun and hot
dry vv.nd. Those techniques resulted
in numerous phases of
experimentation before attaining
final product of shelter.
Figure 1.7.a.b : Different structural techniques
were applied due to climatic variations
1.2.3 Construction of nomadic shelters
Though the final product was either a tent or hut, nomads in Africa and Asia had
conceived different structural techniques of their shelter architecture. These variations
9


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
techniques, however, are subjected to the socio-economic and environmental influences
that varied from one nomadic group to another (Frescura, 1981). In an area where poles
sticks and grass are available, huts are commonly the sheltering solution, while tents are
found in more arid regions where plenty of livestock is available.
Tent Construction : The spread of tent structure across the map of Africa and
Asia led investigators to explore the Transformation of Technology Phenomenon
of this type of nomadic
shelters(figure 1.15). The
black tent in Arabia,
Syria, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan
and Afghanistan was
derived from North
Africa and Egypt (Szabo
and Barfield, 1991). The
black tent is the most
famous name for tents
found in those areas. All
black tents are made of
cloth or leather and strips
of wood.
In his book" Dwellings, The House Across the World", Oliver ( 1987) mentions a
significant characteristic of the black tent." If the black color of the goat hair
might be expected to absorb the sun ray's and make the tent interior
uncomfortably hot, the dark hue means that the cover cast a dense shade and
insulates against radiation heat". The woman used to weave the goat-hair yam
and sew the cloth edge to edge to form the cover surface. The cover is then
stretched over three wood strips or poles of uneven heights the middle one is the
usually taller than the other two- depending on the percentage of rainfall in that
area (figure 1.9.a). Three shorter strips are placed on one of the sides to create an
opening that usually faces the preferred wind direction. The tent cover is held in
Figure 1.8: The seasonal change of tent orientation
10


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
tension with guy ropes and stacks from all sides (Oliver, 1987 ; Szabo and
Barfield, 1991). The variations in the construction techniques are the following :
The three poles or stripes are capped with a wooden T-bar pieces to
prevent the wear in the hole in the cover center panel. This technique is
found in Tunisia, Morocco, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
People in the Arabian Gulf stretch tent covers along their length to
separate strips at the seams.
Tents in Arabia and North Africa are strengthened by transverse
reinforcing tension bands of webbing which take the strain across the
membrane (Oliver, 1987).
a b
Figure 1.9.a.b : Different techniques of tent architecture.
In some cases where cloth walls are used, tents have three shortened strips
from every side (figure l.9.b). This enables occupants to control openings
according to sun penetration and wind movement.
Hut construction : The construction of huts varies considerably from one tribe to
another. Huts are mostly found in Afghanistan as well as in South Africa. In
Afghanistan," The huts varieties that do exist in the south appear to be derived
from a different architecture tradition than those found in the north," (Szabo and
Barfield, 1991). The main structural difference between huts found in south
11


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
Africa and the majority of huts in Afghanistan is that huts in the latter are portable
and more flexible whereas those in the former are more permanent. The
construction of huts in South Africa and Afghanistan are discussed below in more
detail:
Huts in South African : After inserting peeled sticks in a circular plan, the ends
are tied with the bark of saplings to form a pointed dome (figure 1.15). Then,"
Horizontal wands were woven into the frame at intervals and bundles of grass tied
to them to give a thatch covering," (Oliver, 1987). The light frame rarely lasts
more than three months and requires frequent maintenance. In addition, Oliver
(1987) declares that, while men insert sticks and prepare the site, women spend
about fifteen hours to do the rest of construction.
Huts in Afghanistan: The circular hut is
constructed entirely of reeds that is held
together by a horizontal reed bundle.
The horizontal reed acts as a ring that
compresses and ties vertical reeds. A
wall of reeds is embedded into ground to
form a circular shape with space that is
left for a doorway (Szabo and Barfield.
1991). The dome of the hut is made of
two bundles of reeds in order to arch the
span (figure 1.15). Another pair of
bundles placed perpendicular to the first
one completes the final phase of hut
construction (figure 1.10)," Other reed
bundles are set diagonally so that from
the inside the dome appears to be a
hemispherical lattice," (Szabo and
Barfield, 1991). This technique Known
to be produced by Arabs pastoral
nomads which subsequently were
employed by nomads in Afghanistan.
12


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
Figure 1.10 : Different stages of
constructing a hut shelter in
Afghanistan
1.3 Semi Nomadic Generation
1.3.1 Transition from nomadic to semi-nomadic settlement
Semi-nomadic life is the simple deviation from nomadizm. This change is a
result of miscellaneous determinants that consequently explored a variety of structures
techniques deviated from the original structure forms. The debate of the transformation
from nomadic to semi-nomadic life style can be enriched by the following considerations
that guided nomads to search for a more appropriate shelters that would accommodate the
growth in tribe numbers and serve the new way of life.
The increase in nomadic population : The flourishing numbers of the nomadic
groups led to the emergence of semi nomadic settlements. Moving with large
herds of livestock subordinated with an increase in number population, nomads
began to comprehend the significance of settling.
Natural resources : The scarcity of grazing land and water resources in the desert
restrained migration and limited the movement of people. On the other hand,
discovering water resources and grazing lands were significant determinants of
semi nomadic settlement generation. In his book "Spectacular vernacular",
Bourgeois (1989) mentions that water controls the location where the architecture
of the society might exist.
Defense purposes : Many people
in the nomad groups were
conquered by enemies and
invaders from other tribes. As a
consequence, they settled in one
area and tied the group together
in order to feel more secure and
safe. Thus, the location of the
shelter in the semi-nomadic
group was controlled by many
circumstances that believed to
* '9^5 baobab and
f'
groundnut bin
* latrine
(J) water pot
^^mat screen
grave
shade tree
H Household head
M Mother's hut
S Brothers wife
W Head's wife
G Guest hut
13


Architecture Thesis
Kail 1994
provide each group with a more safe and secure life (figure 1.1 l.a.b).
Figure 1.11 .a : A compound of scattered huts shelters
Figure 1.1 l.b : Scattered yurts structures in northern Afghanistan
1.3,2 The source of the semi-nomadic shelter
The nature of
semi-nomadic shelter,
though being
overwhelmed by the
preceding influences, has
yet to deviated from the
primitive man-made
shelter passing through
the nomadic shelter
architecture. In that
period, new sheltering
forms were found beside
those that have been used
as the original sheltering
devices; tents and huts.
Yurts shelters were new ~'f.
sheltering architecture
that appear to be derived
from huts. Since huts do
-£Kr=i-

14


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
not have enough space for
occupants, yurts were
designed to maximize the
usable space within the
structure (figure 1.12).
Additionally, Szabo and
Barfield (1991) suggested
that," The yurt is
designed to withstand the
most severe conditions
encountered by any
pastoral nomads". The
modifications on the tent
and hut architecture will
be discuss next.
Figure 1.12 : Two different summer hut shelters in Afghanistan
Tents : No significant structural differentiation has occurred on this type of
shelter except that found in Afghanistan and Iran (figure 1.16). Every tribal group
has developed its own technique of tent construction. The two main noticeable
techniques which represent the development of tent structure are durability of the
tent and the change in the tent size.
15


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
Figure 1.13 : The two main tent structures; the vaulted and the Peaked
The two main tents structures resulting from the original black tents are
vaulted and peaked tents (Szabo and Barfield, 1991). The poles selection
distinguishes these varieties (figure 1.13). In the case of Afghanistan and Iran
vaulted tents, hoops made of bundles or wood are applied to produce a barrel-
vault appearance. By this technique, vaulted black tents can withstand severe
winds that blow in the Sahara. The use of mud walls or grass is another technique
for extreme climatic conditions during winter," Winter tents may be reinforced
with mud walls or have their sides closed with plaited grass or flattened reed
matting," (Szabo and Barfield, 1991). Peaked black tents are basically spread
across North Africa including Mauritania, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, where
rain and snow fall quite often. The technique of the this type occurs as tribes rise
the middle pole much more higher than the other two to make the pitch of the tent
becomes more steep.
The tent size became
larger so that it could fit bed,
furniture, vassals for cooking
and storage materials. In
order to get more occupancy
space inside the tent, a
number of poles can increase
to six or nine or even
more(figure 1.14). Oliver
(1987) states that some tents
contain more than thirty
supports over which
membranes are stretched.
Figure 1.14: Bigger tents were made for furniture and
other storage materials
Huts or Yurts : Huts structures are classified as grass-oriented technologies that
later became predominant in South Africa, southern part of Sudan. Iran and
16


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
Afghanistan. Figure 1.16 shows the definite departure of the huts or yurts shelters
from the following areas :
In Afghanistan, the structural techniques of hut architecture have spread
from central Afghanistan to Uzbeks, Turkmen, Tajeek societies crossing
the northern Afghani territories (Szabo and Barfield, 1991). Figure 1.16
shows the transformation of technology in the hut architecture from central
Afghanistan towards northern areas.
In South Africa people had gradually developed multiple shelter forms
based on their cultural traditions by which led them produce a unique huts
architecture forms. Hut had been derived from South Africa and extended
towards central part of Africa including the southern parts of Sudan.
Figure 1.16 explains the overwhelmed areas by the unique technology that
originated from South Africa.
17


leEtesis Faff#^94
SENEGAL
MALAYS
SUMATRA'^Jo
INDONESIA
DAGASCAR

Os
00


ArcArfihjtefSiffbeEhesis Fa%^ff994
O


Chapter Two
TRANSFER OF MUD ARCHITECTURE TECHNOLOGY IN RURAL
COMMUNITIES
2.1 Rural Settlement Generations:
2.2 Transition of Technology within the Society
2.3 Cross Cultural Transformation


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
2.1 Rural Settlement Generations:
2.1.1 Architectural derivatives: from shelter to dwelling.
The emergence of rural settlements in the desert had been an obvious conclusion
of the semi nomadic groups clustering. This movement took place throughout history.
As a result of supporting the semi-nomadizm, an entire evolution of shelter form
development had turned out in numerous structures that are much more complicated than
the original shelter form and, on a larger scale, on the generation of the settlement pattern.
The environment and technology determined the limits in which people rooted the
architectural development. The self-sufficient indigenous architecture is the formation of
those two basic influences, environment and technology, beside the economical, religious
and social requirements of the society ," Subtle changes were made as the house structure
and form responded to environmental, social, economic and technological pressures."
(Frescura, 1981). People have developed their architecture through the employment of
the local material that, indeed, permitted them to adapt it accordingly. New construction
systems took place in the development of the rural architecture that didn't exist in the
previous generations. People employed mud, stone and wood for the new transition from
semi-nomadizm to the settlement generation. As a result, different technological
innovations occurred in the dwelling structures, forms and sizes (Figure 2.1). At this stage,
the investigation will highlight the mud indigenous settlements throughout the African
and Asian Islamic rural settlements as being the most popular and predominant housing
architecture found in those areas.
The search for dwelling had occurred as a part of seeking for more durable and
sedentary way of life. New changes in the huts shapes and sizes were recorded in South
and West Africa while no further considerable evolution of the hut dwelling form were
recorded in Afghanistan. The grass oriented technology had become the most
predominate dwelling device along Southern and Western settlements of Africa that was
developed from hut structure to a permanent and durable dwelling (Figure 2.2). This
technology became one of the South and West African heritage later.
People with tents seemed to raise new dwelling forms that have never existed.
People discovered that tents were not appropriate to be more durable and sufficient for
the sedentary life. People in the Arabian and North African societies were the first who
contrived the new architecture of earth oriented technology that later spread through the
22


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
other parts of the African and Asian territories as well as some European societies
(Dethier, 1983; Moughtin, 1985; Norton 1991). Later, people in South and West Africa
(Figure 2.3) borrowed mud technology from northern parts and applied it to produce the
unusual style hut architecture (Crowder, 1956). Earth oriented technology was the first
technique utilized by semi-nomadic groups searching for a more durable shelter structure
that had been explored by the indigenous settlements later.
.y> ..
wit-* 't'-irr'.'




Cave dwelling
Algeria
Stone dwelling
Saudi Arabia
Hut dwelling Adobe house Mud dwelling
South Africa Yemen Nigeria

Wood dwelling
Indonesia




Figure 2.1: Different dwelling approaches found in the desert
2.1.2 Elaboration of Dwelling forms
People in the desert have elaborated different approaches of mud dwelling forms.
As mentioned, hut dwelling is a continuation of the primitive hut shelter form rooted by
nomadic tribes, whereas mud dwellings in the Arabian territories, North Africa, and
Afghanistan are considered to be a transition from tent architecture to the architecture of
the sedentary dwelling. The diversities of dwelling forms that are found in the rural
desert architecture are discussed below.
At this stage, the investigator will discuss the dwelling forms in term of main
construction categories found across the desert of Africa and Asia, whereas the
23


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
components of different dwelling forms will be analyzed with more details in chapter
four of this study.
Architecture of South and West Africa: The hut architecture was always in a
continuous process of improvement, but at a certain point, new progress could take
place that changes the shelter to dwelling. Dwelling architecture in South and West
Africa took a multiple process of developments whereas the most common technique
is the circular room with mud
walls and a thatched roof. The
construction of the dwelling
starts on the dry seasons and the
work should finish prior to the
rain season (Moughtin, 1985).
The mud wall usually consists of
different layers of sun-dried
bricks made of earth and mixed
with dirt and water. Though this
process originated in Egypt, the
final product of the brick may
vary from one area to another.
The earth with the dirt is usually
left to soak in water for
approximately 24 hours and then
left to dryr for ten days before use
(Moughtin. 1985).
Figure 2.2: The grass oriented technology in the in South and
West African settlements
The foundation: While the preparation of bricks take place, the chief builder
prepares the site for construction by laying down the suggested plan on the chosen
site. Shallow trenches of 0.45 m are dug along the line of the plan just beneath the
loose topsoil," Moughtin states (1985), Mud foundations without footings are
constructed in the trenches, the load of the roof and wall being distributed over a large
area of subsoil because of the large batter given to the wall". A wide external plinth
at the base is made to protect large dwellings from erosion.
24


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
The wall: The construction of walls take
place by laying two to three layers of mud
bricks everyday. After reaching the height of
the door lintel, builders suspend the whole
work until the wall completely dries.
Builders discovered, through generations of
experience, that the wall thickness should
decrease at the top to provide more stability
(Frescura, 1981). The wall is strengthened
by pieces of palm trees to resist thatched
roof weight (Figure 2.4.a). Finally, builders
cover the external surface of the wall with
fine mud plaster using their fingers or arms
to form a protective rough surface from
weather and rain (Moughtin, 1985).
Figure 2.3: Earth oriented technology across the
African and Asian desert
The roof: Roof is constructed in three different techniques, conical and thatched,
flat mud roof and dome mud roof supported with arches. The one to be discussed is
the cheapest and most common among all roof structures; conical and thatched roof.
As the master builder describes the methodology of the roof construction (Figure 2.4.b):
" Brands of com stalks are tied around the sloping
rafters at centers of between 0.2m and 0.3 m. Thatch is brought
up to the site in bundles of about 8m. long and up to 1,5m. wide,
depending on the length of grass available. The grass is held
together near the thick ends with one raw of sewing, and is
unrolled from the bottom of the roof towards the apex. The thick
ends of the grass are at the bottom, each layer of grass
overlapping the one below by a few centimeters less than its
total length," (Moughtin, 1985).
25


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
a b
Figure 2.4: The construction of the hut dwelling in South Africa
Architecture of the Egyptian civilization and Arabia: There are more than 20
different methods of earth oriented technological approaches, sun-dried bricks (Adobe)
and rammed earth techniques are the most predominate. Oliver (1, 1987) mentions the
source of the word adobe," Arabs brought the technique to Spain where the word atobe
was adapted, the term by which it is known throughout Latin America". Adobe is a
technical name for the product resulting from the earth mixing with water and chopped
straw (Dethier, 1983). The mixture is packed in a wooden brick mold and left in the sun
until adobe brick dries completely. Adobe is considered the most prominent dwelling
form in the desert on the African and Asian map.
Techniques of traditional adobe construction vary from place to place according
to circumstances such as climate, local material, and the experience of the master
builder who places limits on the technique chosen. Similar techniques tend to be
found in societies located in the same climatic zone. This adaptable material is
employed in Africa, the Middle East, central Afghanistan, England, Germany, France,
and North and Latin America (Oliver 1, 1987). Adobe is a simple, strong and durable
material that was first used more than 27 centuries ago. The famous city of Babylon,
including the Babylon Towers, was built with raw earth (Figure 2.5). The Great Wall
of China, which survives from the Third Century BC., was built with earth (Dethier,
1983). Earth has been the most important building material since the dawn of
mankind.
26


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
The foundation: After approval by the owner, the process of house building
begins with the layout of the proposed plan on the site with gypsum. For proper right
angles, builders made a straight wooden tool called zawiyah. The layout plan is then
excavated to a depth that varies
from 25-70 cm. Size of the trench
depends on the hardness of the
soil (the less rain, the harder the
soil). Stone rubble filled with
mud mortar is built up to 30 cm
above the ground level. This
approach is necessary for both
reducing the risk of the adobe
wall decaying from flash floods
as well as for maintenance
reasons (Dethier, 1983).
Figure 2.5: One of the oldest structures that was built
1500 years ago.
The wall: Unskilled laborers prepare adobe bricks while the foundation is being
constructed. After drying in the sun for 12-24 hours, adobe bricks are ready for use in
building walls. Walls are constructed by overlaying adobe bricks in rows with mud
mortar in between for bonding. The thickness of adobe walls varies from 45-60 cm.
The dome and vault: Use of sun-dried bricks for dome and vault construction is
increasingly found in areas where wood is rare and it is proposed that earth vaults and
dome roofing systems substitute the need for increasingly scarce timber (Szabo and
Barfield, 1991). Domes and vaults do not require beams to support the roof; they are
supported by four inclined arches of adobe brick called squinches. Parabolic domes,
that originally derived from Nubia, Egypt, later applied by many societies in other
Arabian regions and India," Parabolic corbelled domes are constructed above cells of
a square plan, with layers of sun-dried bricks regularly laid and gently cantilevered to
the apex," Oliver (1987) states," These domes have an egg-like section which
efficiently distributes the stresses on the shell surface and is therefore very strong."
27


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
On one hand, the dome is the roofing answer for square spaces or rooms. The
work starts by creating inclined squinches laid upon each comer of the wall," These
act as the base from which infilling can be done with inclined layers of brick to create
a circular base for the dome," (Szabo and Barfield, 1991). From the circular base, the
upper part of the dome is then completed by adding further inclined layers of adobe
(Figure 2.6).
Figure 2.6: The methodology of constructing the dome in Afghanistan
On the other hand, the vault is built in the same manner as the dome, except that
vaults are usually used for rectangular plans. Vaults are mostly used when more
space is needed or when corridors are present (Figure 2.7). As in the method used for
domes, laborers build squinches on the comers of walls," These squinches merge to
form a semicircular inclined layer of bricks which can be continued along the length
of the building until the vault is completed and merged with the squinches at the other
end," (Szabo and Barfield, 1991).
Figure 2.7: The vault construction technique
After the completion of the dome or vault, people usually coat the roof with mud
plaster containing bits of straw, which significantly increases roof consolidation. The
28


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
technique of vault and dome roofing was first developed in Nubia, Egypt, and is a
system that was utilized by many later societies (Szabo and Barfield, 1991).
The roof: Roof is usually constructed by laying straight members of timber on
top of, or embedded in, the walls.
Smaller branches of wood are then
laid across on top of the main timber
members. The next stage is to cover
the wood branches with layers of
brush wood. Finally, several layers of
mud are rammed in layers to cover
the brush wood and to form the
surface of the next floor or the ceiling
floor (Figure 2.8). The upper surface of
the roof is usually plastered by mud
mixed with lime or animal dung so
that surface becomes water resistant
(Lebbal, 1989). The roof construction
of the rammed earth construction
technique is similar to the one
discussed above.
Figure 2.8: The roof construction
Architecture of North Africa: Rammed earth construction technique is widely used
in Morocco, Libya, southern Arabia and central Afghanistan. In addition, rammed
earth is also known by the French term pise'de terre, that was first discovered in
China and brought to Europe by the Romans (Oliver 1, 1987). Rammed earth is
constructed by compressing mud between two wooden plates located parallel to one
another, with a thickness of nearly 50 cm. Mud usually consists of sand mixed with
water and dirt. Figure 2.9.a illustrates how earth is compressed in the mold or coffer
with a heavy wooden hammer. As mud begins to dry, the coffer is removed and lifted
on top of it. As this process is repeated, the wall is being constructed. While the walls
dry in the sun, laborers rub them with straw. This construction method is not
widespread in Arabian areas.
29


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
Foundation: The foundation starts with sitting the plan on the site by the master
builder. The ground is then excavated until reaching the solid base; the depth of
foundation varies from one place to another depending on the solidity of the soil and
the wall height. The base is then made of compressed rubble stone with mud bonding
in between.
a b
Figure 2.9: Rammed earth construction in Morocco
The wall: The techniques of constructing the walls are similar. A wooden open-
ended frame is placed on top of the foundation base and filled out with earth. Wall
material of rammed earth is described as," earth mixed with straw bonded by seel oil
or with loose straw paper mixed with lime, which is soaked in water and pounded in
with the soil" (Oliver 1, 1987). The mixture is compacted and rammed with hammers
or heavy poles until reaching the top of the box frame (Figure 2.9.b). This process is
repeated to form the first layer of the wall 50 cm. height and then left to dry for a
couple of hours before the second wall layer started.
2.1.3 Evolution of the settlements:
Defense is a significant factor in the sitting of the semi-nomadic and the rural
settlements as well (Oliver 1, 1987). Furthermore, it has been noted that the rural
settlement evolution was affected by other circumstances; economical, environmental and
religious. These factors, had greatly stressed both the techniques of the dwelling forms
and the evolution rural settlement pattern ( Yagi, 1980). Thus, a consequent of three
different settlement patterns were found across the African and Asian map ( Oliver 1,
1987):
30


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
Molecular settlement pattern: This type of settlement distribution emerged in
South and West Africa and northern parts of India. Each settlement is a
component of multiple compounds tied together with vertical walls and irregular
narrow streets within the circular dwellings (Figure 2.10). Every component is
usually occupied by the same extended family members (i.e., grandfather, man
and his wife and children) and consists of different circular spaces opened to the
one living yard and connected with the animal yard. Most of the construction of
this unpredictable settlement pattern is done by each family member (Archer,
1971). The final product is a unique architecture in which every member is an
active producer .
Nucleated settlement pattern: This type of settlement approach was generally
practiced in most Arabian regions. Multiple courtyard houses distributed in an
irregular pattern with narrow streets in between that enhance the penetration of
natural ventilation and provide shade during noon periods (Figure 2.11). The whole
nucleated form is usually compact surrounded by a high stone or mud wall with a
huge main entrance to gain protection against enemies," Formerly under frequent
attack from other groups and from nomadic tribes they defended themselves in a
walled ksour" (Oliver 1, 1987). Such surrounding wall does not allow an
expansion possibility beyond settlement pattern. Each compound contains its own
public center that consists of mosque, and the suoq or market place. The tied
Figure 2.10: Molecular settlement pattern
31


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
social relationships between neighbors appears clearly through the arrangement of
every dwelling as well as the overall settlement pattern.
. /
,souq
Figure 2.11: Nucleated settlement pattern
Linear settlement pattern: Dwellings that grow along communication routes
usually end up with the linear settlement pattern formation. In the case of Ghana
and some villages in Afghanistan, dwellings are traditionally sited along the main
street. In those villages, the dwelling design is usually affected by the settlement
pattern in a rectangular shape with a patio 'verandah or courtyard (Figure 2.12). It
is significant to note that the architecture of this settlement arrangement is
subjected to modification from time to time by the impact of traders and travelers.
Figure 2.12: Linear settlement pattern
32


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
2.2 Transition of Technology within the Society
2.2.1 Contribution of family members
The fact that two thirds of the world's population today still live in indigenous
dwellings indicates the sophistication the vernacular architecture. With a world
population in excess of five thousand million people, eight or nine hundred million
dwellings are possible," Oliver (1987) stated," Of these only a minuscule proportion were
designed by architects; one percent might well be an over-estimate.". Scholars raised
certain circumstances for the technique in which family members produce; land, climate,
accessibility to natural resources and social way of life of whole society. In addition,
another criteria can be added to these circumstances in which people used to follow the
society technical approaches rather than look at a different one.
Man and woman originally invented the term of technology by which whole
generations of mankind practiced later (Figure 2.13). The transformation of technology in
the rural settlements starts from
the scale of individual family
members and expand to cover the
The grandfather, the father and the son (Figure 2.14): In non-literate societies,
the demonstration of the technique is practically introduced by the skilled person
to the unskilled. Within the practical methods of teaching, techniques
overall society generation. In
other words, the construction is a
cooperative work that men,
women and children and, in some
cases: all society members
participate," Construction is a
skill that every one knows,"
(Bourgeois, 1989). In the
vernacular architecture, the
transition of technology, within
the family limits, occur in two
different ways:
Figure 2.13: The family members participate in the
process f construction
33


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
transformed from the grandfather to the son," Vernacular architecture is an
architecture which is able to be practiced by most if not all members of the
group," (Frescura, 1981). In rural communities, the grandfather is usually the
most experienced in the family. Acting as a supervisor, the grandfather is the one
who manages and controls the work. The father, on the other hand, acts as an
assistant to the grandfather. With less experience, the father can assist in
performing some secondary work at the site. Such practical language techniques
prepare the son to handle the work of his father later on. Thus, the grandfather is
attempting to teach his son and prepares him for the next challenge.
Young children are also instructed in how to use tools, prepare molds, and
other basic work needs at the site. Oliver 1 (1987) declares that, in some
societies, boys are given toy matches, at an early ages, preparing them to handle
the full size blade. The errors the children make may be corrected practically
where it seem to be beneficial. Mixing mud, adding straw and making earth bricks
are the main jobs of young children at the site. The sense of the child gets
improved and explored as he becomes older.
Female involvement in transformation (Figure 2.15): Due to religious and social
aspects of Islam, the role of women, in most Islamic societies, was limited to the
indoor envelope of the dwelling. Besides her bulk of work, including cooking,
washing cloths, taking care of her children and other domestic tasks, woman was
an active participant in the transformation process. Men were responsible for the
34


Architecture Thesis
Fail 1994
construction of walls and roofs while women did the other finishing and
decoration of the interior surfaces (Bourgeois, 1989). In his book Hansa
Architecture Moughtin (1985) mentions some tools that women utilized for
decoration," The various pots, pans and dishes that form her dowry are used by
the wife and her female relatives to decorate the new house,". Another one of the
women's tasks was the coloring of interior surfaces.
Young girls achieve some knowledge of the construction work by
imitating their mothers, Since women control children during the early
formation years, some perceptual traditions are probably transmitted in this way,"
(Moughtin, 1985). The young girls usually get some practical advice and training
of decorating, preparing brick molds, and finishing the inner surfaces under the
supervision of the older women or grandparents. In Africa and part of
Afghanistan, young girls make some small houses made of mud, this action is
considered to be preparing them for participation in the real work (Bourgeois,
1989).
Generally, within the extended family size, the skill of every member is required
to be demonstrated in order to handle the construction of dwelling for the later
generation.
2.2.2 Contribution of society members
The society is an outcome of number of extended families that cooperate together
for shaping the settlement structures. In the rural settlements, number of chiefs and labor
Figure 2.15: The women and girls participation
35


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
providing that there was someone interested enough to write it and bored enough to read
it," Frescura (1981) states.
2.2.3 Transformation within the generation
For some architects, vernacular architecture associates ordinarily with primitive
and pre-scientific life style for the ignorant societies inhabited it. For those architects
inspired with the success of the self-dependent architecture, in contrary, the terminology
is quite reverse. Vernacular architecture is the term of dwelling related environment
technology handed down through generations of mankind and doesn't employ to
academically trained architects. This type of architecture is in a dynamic progress of
practical changes (Figure 2.17). Within the society a definite departure of different
construction techniques is drawn from one generation to another, handed down by the
skills of ordinary people. Learning different techniques from an older member in the
society by those who are less experienced illustrates the process of technology transfer
between generations within the society scale.
It has been noted that these techniques that will last are the ones that
accommodate social-economic considerations of the society. Acknowledging this factor
would be the main key that lead to answer the reason beyond similarities in the
elaboration of dwelling forms in the vast majority of the Islamic rural settlements.
Additionally, the climate in the desert across Africa and Asia is another linking point of
this raise question. In general, the process of handling vernacular building methods takes
place under socio-economic and climatic limitations.
2.3 Cross Cultural Transformation
2.3.1 Cross cultural communication
The cross-cultural transformation is the other practical way that techniques were
transformed between societies. It is in a progressive changes and modifications. These
changes occur by members within the society or by imitating other cultures. Builders
introduce new tools, material techniques and structural methodologies because of their
communication with builders from other societies (Figure 2.17). Oliver (1991) explains the
two categories in which the imitation, of cross-cultural transformation fall under:
Immigrants, from one society group to another, disperse their material culture and
techniques within the new society.
37


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
Returning traders or travelers, that are in frequent contact with other societies,
imitate the techniques and new methodologies found in those societies.
The role of immigrants in the transformation process: Immigration is the main
way by which technology could be transferred. Across the desert of Africa and
Asia, the impact of immigration in the diffusion of dwelling form was valuable,"
However, domestic architecture can not be considered timeless: the introduction
of new building techniques, material, and ideas or influx of immigrants from other
regions has changed traditional designs in many parts of Afghanistan," (Szabo and
Barfield, 1991). In addition, Powell (1991) indicates that the vernacular
architecture of South-east Asia was influenced by the immigrants from China and
Indian sub-continent. The disperse of the techniques and new tools is determined
by the depth of the immigrants impact on the society culture.
The role of traders and returning travelers on transformation process:
Returning travelers stimulate curiosity about foreign building. In his book "Down
to Earth", Jean Dethier (1983) stated that the word adobe first originated in Egypt.
Adobe is a term for sun-dried brick that is internationally used. This
phenomenon explains how technology is transformed due to contact with other
cultures: The movement of traders can introduce tools, and the visits of
journeying craftsmen may spread techniques" (Oliver 2, 1991). People in
southern Arabia and Yemen had erected new architecture styles in the dwelling
and public building construction. Stylistic approaches originated in Indonesia,
Malaysia and Java and were brought in by traders (Salma, 1989).
The role of builders that were subjected with other cultures: Moughtin (1985)
points out that the Hausa dwelling forms had been in continuos development
because the builders of Hausa has been subjected to outside influences. Master
builders in every society are the ones who handed down the technologies to the
younger generation. Within certain circumstances, the master builder could also
participate or supervise a construction work in other villages that would influence
him by others.
38


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
In general, the influence and influx of the immigrants, traders, returning travelers
and builders that causes the diffusion of technology had been subjected by depth of
involvement in which they had penetrated.
2.3.2 Impact of city location on the transformation process
The geographical location of the settlement can play a main role in the
transformation process on the dwelling form of that settlement. Various dwelling forms
can be found within the settlement due to interaction with neighbors. In a country like
Afghanistan, the impact of Iran from the west, Pakistan and India from the south and
east, and China from the north had resulted in distinctive styles of architecture which
became part of Afghanistan's own artist heritage later. Architecture of West Africa had
been influenced by the upper neighbors," Hausa society is not, nor can it or should it be
insulated from the changes affecting the life of great cities in Nigeria," (Moughtin, 1985)
(Figure 2.18).
2.3.3 Transformation versus architecture of parallel technology
The harmony of dwelling forms and techniques across the African and Asian
deserts appears to fall under the condition of the transferred technology. This is the
practical answer of the factor that enriches the arguments of the similarities in the
elaboration of dwelling forms in the vast majority of the Islamic rural settlements. But,
such argument can be prolonged by raising the following question:
How similarities of dwelling forms can be found within two different societies
where no inter-cultural communication was detected ?
It has been noted that for the technique to exist and last, it should accommodate
social and climatic considerations of the society. Acknowledging these two factors lead
to an answer of the similarities in the elaboration of dwelling forms in the vast majority
of the Islamic rural settlements, though cross-cultural interactions might not be detected.
Islamic aspects, values and teachings are spread across the vast majority Muslim
societies. These values and traditions led people in those areas to deal with the
dwelling forms accordingly. Neighbor relations is one of those aspects which causes
similarity in the dwelling forms as well as the urban planning of different settlements.
39


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
The role of women in Islam is yet another social value that was reflected on the
dwelling form and size.
The similarities of response of ordinary people to the climate in the desert led to the
achievement of similar dwelling forms.
Moughtin (1985) declares another point of the similarity of same techniques applied
in Nigeria and Egypt," We may note the similarities in character between the building
forms of the Egyptian and the older mosques of the Hausa land in west Africa-, but
this could be explained simply as similar roofing problems giving rise quit
independently to similar structural solutions".
The harmony in the construction techniques found in the Islamic rural settlements
is usually derived from one origin under the incident of technology transfer. This
phenomenon, under certain circumstances, is quit different. Through investigating varies
elaboration of building forms, from shelter to dwelling, the investigator conclude that the
other instant, beyond transformation of technology, that causes similarity in dwelling
across the rural settlement in Africa and Asia is what can be called as the architecture of
parallel technologies. In the investigator point of view, parallel technologies architecture
takes place when the shelter or dwelling constructional technology is not derived from
one root or one group but many. Applying this phenomenon across African and Asian
map would assist investigators to answer the missing part beyond the coincidence in the
shelter forms between two Islamic settlements whereas no inter-cultural communication
is detected.
40


Architecture Thesis


ArcAft^Wtel^TReStysis___________________________________Fafi3!1^94
INDONESIA


Chapter Three
THE ADAPTATION OF TRANSFERRED TECHNOLOGY
3.1 Adapting the technology
3.2 Societies with Appropriate Technologies


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
3.1 Adapting the technology
3.1.1 Diffusion of Technology
Vernacular societies personify the style of the self-help architecture developments
where in every member is involved in the production and the modification process.
Vernacular architecture, in other words, is the outcome of the participation and
cooperation of all actors in the society, every actor is in charge of different degree of
responsibility (Figure 2.17)," The varies actors will have different levels of authority within
specific progresses, the role of leader changing as the process progress," (Drewer, 1991).
People in rural communities who rely on low technology and local material for providing
themselves with shelter, have been able to incorporate new techniques and accommodate
them to serve the society better. The process of incorporation and accommodation of
techniques is called diffusion of technology.
Diffusion of technology occurs in the process of perceiving the transferred
technology and adapt it accordingly to harmonize social, climatic, and economical
determinants. Thus, Diffusion works as an instrument for the development. In analyzing
how traditional technologies percolate down through society, Oliver (1991) reports that
vernacular builders enhanced their built environment through practical ways and through
actual experimental methods, quite alienated to those practiced by architects and
engineers. Furthermore, Oliver (1991) states in comparing the academic construction
technologies with those employed by vernacular builders:
" From the plans and sections and even the dimensional system
used, to the analysis of the structural principles employed, such
studies are expressed by graphic conventions that are totally
foreign to those used by vernacular builders to conceptualize
their structures and communicate their techniques," .
The process of adapting the transferred techniques is made through the diffusion
processes that is controlled by the limitations that will be discussed next.
3.1.2 Limitations through adaptation process
Vernacular architecture is classified as underdevelopment architecture that is in
progressive change. This dwelling related environment architecture is raised and under
some limitations and determinations (Figure 3.1). For a certain technological development
44


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
to be practiced, it has to meet certain requirement that is related to social, climatic,
environmental and economical issues. Thus, people had adjusted their dwelling form and
the entire urban planning of the settlement according to their needs.
Social Influence: Throughout the history of the rural settlements, social aspects
have increasingly been considered as a dominant duty of builders. In practicing
any type of development within Muslim societies, the builder's major concern was
to meet the customs and values of Islam," But these changes are being
accommodated within a
traditional, stable Islamic
culture which retains its
essential social and religious
structure," (Moughtin, 1985).
Thus, it can be determined
that due to the unity of social
and religious values,
modifications have been
employed directly with no
further appropriations. In
addition, Moughtin
states) 1985):
" It was found that the implicit architectural program of Hausa
society, disciplined as it is by Islam, result in a unified and
highly organized spatial structure which expenses in built form
the significant features of Hausa culture,".
But on the other hand, certain customs that are subjected to change through
generations can influence the perception of the transferred techniques which in
turn make these techniques require some modifications.
Climatic and environmental influences: Dwellings are mainly utilized for
sheltering from the macro climate. Dwelling is the most important micro-climate
Figure 3.1: The valley of mud brick in Yemen,
illustrates how dwellings are related to the
environment
45


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
devise that humans invented for their comfort. Desert climate is another source
that stressed the process transformation of technology between societies in the
desert of Africa and Asia. The construction techniques that would not
accommodate climate will be opposed and rejected soon. Because the vast
majority of world's desert fall under the hot-dry climatic zone (figure 3.2), much
attention are given to the techniques that would resolve reducing temperature
during the daytime and enhancing the cold air to penetrate the dwelling during
night times. Next, the researcher will highlight on one traditional climatic
response that features the vast majority of Islamic rural settlements; courtyard
dwelling.
Figure 3.2: Hot climatic zones of the world
Introverted atriums are constructed everywhere in hot, dry regions. A
courtyard house is simply designed of a central core that connects all other
elements of the house. Besides, privacy needs, Talib (1984) mentions that the
atrium acts as a climate moderator as well as a natural lighting source. In a
courtyard house, the daily temperature difference between inside and outside is 10
to 20C. According to Talib (1984). the atrium in hot. dry regions has three regular
daily cycles (figure 3.3):
1- The first cycle occurs during the night when cool night air descends into the
courtyard and fills surrounding rooms. As a result, walls, floors, columns,
roofs, etc. remain cool until late afternoon.
2- The second cycle occurs around noon. When the sun hits the courtyard floor,
cool air rises through surrounding rooms. While heat penetrates the thick wall
46


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
(this takes approximately 12 hours), a pleasant and comfortable temperature is
maintained inside.
3- The third cycle occurs in the afternoon, when the courtyard and rooms
become warmer. Then, as the sun sets in the desert, air temperature falls
rapidly and colder air begins to flow. Thus, a new cycle begins.
This climatic response is employed in most Islamic rural settlements due
to the similarity of climate.
Figure 3.3: Diagrammatic explanation of the three climatic cycles each at night, noon, and
afternoon
Economical influences: The generating force behind vernacular architecture is
the need for cheap dwelling. Technology, local material, tools and laborers
experience set the limits of the economic level for any vernacular settlements.
People who raised earth architecture had ad lusted dwelling form and construction
within those circumstances. Thus, to employ a certain technique, weather
generated by members of the society or borrowed form neighbors, it should
correspond to the economical level of the society. Employing some techniques
might have an economical reason beside the construction simplicity. Norton
(1991) points that builders in South Africa borrowed the technique of the dome
from Nubia, Egypt which resulted in reducing the construction cost beside the
simplicity of the construction (figure 3.4)," Room covered with an earth, shows that
the cost of materials for the latter is almost and quarter of the cost of obtaining the
wood and matting".
In the desert, local materials are limited, vernacular builders have
developed their dwellings in an extraordinary styles. They generated technologies
47


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
and employed ordinary tools based on their understanding of material capabilities
and their own potential experience that led them to establish a realistic dwelling
related environment architecture.
Concluding the three earlier limitation in which a transferred technique applied, it
can be said that:
The mimicry of social and climatic issues in the desert territories in Africa and
Asia is considered as the potential force that enhances transformation of
technologies within and between those territories.
The variation in the economic level of developments between some of those
societies sets the limit in which the transferred techniques was employed or
rejected," The macro socio-economic factors of urban and rural communities
affect the transformation of traditional techniques," (Shakur, 1991).
3.1.3 Appropriating the technology
After generation of appropriating this simple and significant material, Builder
discovered that mud provided efficient, adequate and occasionally lovely shelter. The
long process of utilizing, changing and developing earth architecture has enriched many
scientific articled that prospect the implicit of this indigent material. The appropriation of
mud techniques took place under generations of modifying processes, tools and
techniques to accommodate the social, environmental and economical life of the society.
Figure 3.4: One of the bazaar (central market) in Iran covered with the type of dome
originally found in Egypt
48


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
Within the three modification categories, process, tools and techniques, vernacular people
adapt or appropriate the transferred or the new bom technology. The ways that vernacular
builder appropriated the new developments will be discussed through the following
analysis of dwelling constructional phases.
Preparation of the site: The custom that represents the life style in most Islamic
settlements is determined as the extended family dwelling structure. Extended family
structure is the way in which grandfather and grandmother live together with their son
and his wife and children. This type of relationship is reflected on the dwelling form and
on the urban planning as well( Lebbal, 1989). Thus, the site selection for the next
dwelling is related to the formal dwelling location.
The process of preparing the site starts with the drawing of the proposed plan with
white powder called nurah (figure 3.5). This technique is found in Egypt, Arabia, Yemen,
West Africa and Afghanistan," The plan of the house is drawn on the ground by the chief
builder with his foot," Moughtin states (1985). The unit scale of zerah or derah is used
for setting the proposed site and
for other construction stages as
well. It should be noted that this
scale type originated in Egypt
and then was employed by
builders in Yemen, Arabia and
parts of western Africa (Salma,
1989). In addition, Moughtin
(1985) reports that Hausa
societies use the modular that
determines the proportion of the
height related to the plan size.
Foundation: People found that stone and earth is the best to resist compression
forces. Trench is excavated, according to the proposed plan, with a depth that depends on
solidity of the site," We dig until we meet the dry, strong land," master builder recalls
(Salma, 1989). The trench is then filled with stones and bonded with earth and dust. The
dust might be mixed with salt and then used for foundation. Salma (1989) explains the
goal of this technique," .... absorbs the water and deters any undergoing insects from
49


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
crawling up to the upper floors,". This technique might be found in countries with ancient
traditions like, Iran, Yemen, and Egypt. The foundation usually exceeds the ground level
between .25m up to 1,5m depending on the height of the dwelling. For example, in West
Africa and Iran, the base
goes up to .35m whereas
in South Arabia and 3o
Yemen, because of _
constructing multilevel '
dwellings, the base ~~~
reaches 1.5 m (Moughtin,
1985 ; Salma, 1989).
F
i
gure 2.6: Section in the foundation trench
In most settlements, dwelling construction starts during the summer. The whole
construction must finish before the rain, Building starts at the beginning of the dry
season and ends just before the rains," Moughtin reports (1985). The wall material, sun-
dry brick or rammed earth, is prepared while the foundation process takes place.
Preparing mud brick or earth: It was noted that adobe is the source of the word
atobe which were originated by Egyptians and then employed in the rest parts of the
world. Adobe is the product of mixing earth with water and chopped straw. But in some
societies, dung is added to the mixture to keep insects away from the house (Bourgeois,
1989). Adobe is usually produced in a rectangular wood frame that has varies dimensions
according to the number of stories; the higher the number the bigger the size In contrast
to the way adobe is prepared in Nubia, Egypt, builders in Yemen produced bigger mold
and thinner brick with bigger dimension (figure 3.7). Furthermore, the whole bricks
required for construction are produced before the start of any construction work whereas
in Nubia, bricks are prepared while other site works take place (Salma, 1989). That is,
while the most prominent size the wood mold is the one found in Nubia. Egypt, builders
in other societies seem to produce adobe in varies shapes and size. Adobe can be found in
a cylindrical, circular or sphere shapes like the case in South and West Africa (Bourgeois,
50


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
1989). The brick is finally left for several days to dry enough before applied for
construction.
Egypt Yemen Nigeria
Figure 3.7: Different sun-dries bricks sizes
The Constructing of wall:
Rammed Earth: The rammed earth construction method is widely used in
Morocco, Libya, Southern Arabia and Central Afghanistan. This method
originally appeared in France in 1562 (Dethier, 1983). In contrary, Oliver (1,
1987) stated that rammed earth was derived from China to Europe," Rammed
earth, also known by the French term of pise'de terre, is an ancient method of
doing so. Known by the Chinese for more than 3,000 years, it was probably
brought to Europe by the Romans". Rammed earth is constructed by compressing
mud between two wooden plates located parallel to one another, with a thickness
of nearly 50 cm. Mud usually consists of sand mixed with water and dirt. Earth
is compressed in the mold or coffer with a heavy wooden hammer. As mud
begins to dry, the coffer is removed and lifted on top of it (Bourgeois, 1989). As
this process is repeated, the wall is being constructed (figure 3.8). While the walls
dry in the sun, laborers rub them with straw mixed with mud.
51


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
Figure 3.8: A wall constructed with rammed earth
Coursing and pudding: This construction method is found in many places in
the Middle East, especially in the southern part of Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
Coursing, locally called midmak, is a layer of mud shaped by hand or with a tool
(Leslie, 1991). The mud consists of a mixture of water, wood, straw and sand. It
is usually left to dry up to four days before use. The construction process starts
from the foundation, where shallow trenches are dug 25 cm deep and 50 cm wide.
Stone rubble bonded with mud is built up 30 cm above the ground, On the
following day, the mix is laid by hand on the foundation", Leslie (1991) states,"
Some builders prefer to complete the
entire midmak on the wall in one
day,". Rarely does midmak need to
dry more than two days (figure 3.9).
After the wall is constructed, midmak
is rubbed with wood in order to make
it smoother. This method of raising
walls is not widely employed because
it is assumed to be the most
expensive way of wall construction
(Salma, 1989).
Figure 1.9: Coursing and Pudding, midmak,
dwelling construction in Saudi Arabia
52


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
Adobe (sun-dried brick): Layers of bricks are laid on top of the foundation base.
This operation is repeated until the ground floor is complete. In the case of having
a multilevel houses, like in Yemen or South Arabia, or the need for high roof
ceiling, like in South and West Africa, wall thickness decreases while lifting up
(Moughtin, 1985 ; Salma, 1989). This technique probably first noted by Hadrami
people in Yemen that spread north to Arabia and to Africa later (figure 3.10),"
Tarim and other the Hadrami
cities had influenced the course
of Islamic civilization in East
Africa, the western coast of
India, and Indonesia," (Salma.
1989). In addition, the external
walls gradually slanting
inwards as the wall reaches the
upper floors (Salma, 1989).
Mud and straw are mixed
together and used as mortar or
bonding material.
Figure 3.10: Multilevel houses in Yemen
The Roofing construction: Due to the several variations of roofing construction
found throughout Africa and Asia; flat roof, dome, arch and vault ceiling and roofing
construction will be explicated in the next chapter.
Plastering: Plastering or coating the external and internal surfaces with mud or
powder 'nurah' are employed for both decoration purposes and climatic responses (figure
3.11). On one hand, mud plastering is a technique that is widely applied in Afghanistan,
Arabia and northern parts of Africa. As it requires a regular maintenance, fine mud
plastering tends to have more clay and less sand, whereas the cheaper one is a mixture of
sand and straw (Bourgeois, 1989). Builders tend to shape the external surfaces of the
dwelling by fingers. The finger pattern is used for two reasons: to decorate walls as well
as to protect building from weather variations. Domes are coated with mud plaster to
produce smooth and rendered surface as well as to reduce wind erosion (Oliver, 1, 1987).
53


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
On the other hand, bright colors might be added to the nurah or mud that result in
different colors of plaster. This technique was first applied by Indians in which became
part of Yemeni architectural heritage later," The architecture movement in Tarim led to
the development of a class builders and experts in nurah plastering and painting whose
reputation extended throughout the country," (Salma, 1989). Colored plastering is found
in West and South Africa also.
Figure 3.11: Different techniques and colors for plastering
3.2 Societies with Appropriate Technologies
3.2.1 Architecture Deformation
Most dwellings that last for centuries are the shapes that become the heritage of
societies later," Domestic architectural designs are products of a process in which less
successful buildings have been replaced by more successful ones over times," (Szabo and
Barfield, 1991). In addition, the process of technology started initially in a limited
manner, but expanded throughout generations. Rural settlements represent the self-
dependent architecture that is based on social way of life, climatic influences and
technological approaches. It is the type of architecture where members learn, cooperate
modify during the processes of shaping their community and environment (Ahmet, 1980).
From indigenous architecture, investigators can identify the lifestyle of the society that
occupies the settlement.
54


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
Technology is the term that raise upon generations of experimentation,"
Technological and technical changes are not discrete but are grouped into technological
regimes which dominate engineering and management decisions for several decades,"
Shakur declares (1991). Employing technology with local material has enabled people to
form their own traditions, customs and generate the deformation towards the new
architectural deformation, Their aesthetic appeal, their echoes of long, if romanticized,
history have attracted both scholarly investigations and the clicking camera shutters of
countless tourists," Oliver states (1, 1987).
3.2.2 Intermediate technology in context
Rural settlements last for centuries and will last for the further generations
because they are based on the intermediate technology. Intermediate technology, largely
based on low technology, local materials, self-help, and community participation. Today
the self-help architecture had become one of the main four construction categories of the
1T 'ted Nations Industrial Development (UNIDO) (Shakur, 1991). Rural developments
seem to oe the solution of many urban problems of current age.
Lohman and Martinar (1990) pointed out three main facts to achieve the optimum
development of any human settlement. These facts resulted from the deep analytical
investigations on the rural settlements :
It is essential to have an integral relationship between different cultural, social and
economic aspects. This integration should lead to a technique to be used and
applied.
The community should not only be a receiver of information, but should
contribute with solutions and suggestions.
Public participation in settlement planning development would be economical,
reducing construction as well as maintenance costs through self-help maintenance
plans.
Currently, some Western institutions have adapted intermediate technology
construction methods. Moreover, extensive training programs and research are underway
for future development of the construction methodology. The Institute of Appropriate
Technology (IAT) "is a cooperative program that trains architects, engineers, sociologists,
55


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
environmentalists and administrators as well as masons and artisans while working
together on an existing project and where every person and specialist could apply new
effective and vigorous techniques rooted in their traditions" (Moustaader, 1985).
56


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
JL-._____________.
Preparation of brickta
The wall bricks are prepared in a rectangular molds made of wood. The
bricks are then exposed to the sun to dry enough. For the rammed earth
walls, the earth is usually mixed with straws and water very well and left
for overnight before the construction of the wall takes place.
Foundation
1

Construction of the walls often begins by digging a foundation trench
about SO cm deep that then filled with stone. Although not absolutely
necessary, such a foundation protects the wall from erosion produced by
the capillary action of groundwater"________________________________
Wall L
It predominates in in the northern parts of the country, centra!
Afghanistan, and the Kabul basin. In rural areas, the walls are generally
constructed of compressed mud, while in urban areas they are usually
constructed of sun-dried bricks.
Flat roof
1
After inserting the pole in the wall, different layers of brushes, wood
sticks, mud and fine mud are used.
Builders usually plaster the walls with fine mud that enhances the
resistance of the walls from sever weather changes in Afghanistan.
-1 -
, 4 T
W-sW't
& Domes and vaults re constructed on thick walls, either square or
rectangular plan shape, by building four squinches on the coroners.
These acts as a base from which filling can be done with inclined layers
of brick to create a contentious circular dome or rectangular vault.
Finishing b

57


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
| Preparation of bricl^|
L
r#
The wall bricks are prepared in a rectangular molds made of wood. The
bricks are then exposed to the sun to dry enough. The proportional adobe
brick size that is found in Egypt is the one that is the most popular
Foundation
V
Construction of the walls often begins by digging a foundation trench
about 30-50 cm deep that then filled with rubble stone with mud mud
mortar in between.
r
*-
w
&
Wall
1
The wall is constructed with layers of adobe bricks. Three to four layers
are finished every day.
Flat roof

V
After inserting the pole in the wall, different layers of brushes, wood
sticks, mud and fine mud are used.
mi
r
Domes and vaults were first found in the Egyptian civilization that
spread across the world map later. The parabolic domes and vaults do
not require wooden frame but produced by inclining different layers of
adobe bricks.
Finishing
i
Builders usually plaster the walls with fine mud that enhances the
resistance of the walls from weather changes.
58


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
Preparation of brickk
r* Mud usually consists of sand mixed with water and dirt, wall material of rammed earth is described as," earth mixed with straw bonded by seel oil or with loose straw paper mixed with lime, which is soaked in water and pounded in with the soil" (Oliver 1, 1987)
Foundation b
pi if the master builder. The ground is then excavated until reaching the solid base; the depth of foundation varies from one place to another depending on the solidity of the soil and the wall height. The base is then made of compressed rubble stone with mud bonding in between.
Wall b
Lr? j .t, wooden hammer. As mud begins to dry, the coffer is removed and lifted on top of it (Bourgeois, 1989). This process is repeated to form the first layer of the wall 0.25 m. height and then left to dry for a couple of hours before the second wall layer started.
Flat roof b
a constructed with branches of the palm trees. Then, On top of these beams small tree branches are placed and covered by palm leaves and branches and locally produced woven straw mats. Layer of clay mixed with straw then level the surface of the next floor by bonding it in.
Dc r: rS >me and vault b Domes and vaults are usually employed when wood and trees are scare. The most well-known dome construction technique is the parabolic dome technique that was originally brought in from Egypt.

As this process is repeated, the wall is being constructed. While the walls
dry in the sun, laborers rub them with straw.
59


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994

mfyt
r
uniting or
r >
i /. "T

South Arabia

r I ri | r i c/
-------ry
Preparation of bricky
The mud consists of a mixture of water, wood, straw and sand. It is
usually left to dry up to four days before use.
Foundation
1
r
The construction process starts from the foundation, where shallow
trenches are dug 25 cm deep and 50 cm wide. Stone rubble bonded with
mud is built up 30 cm above the ground. Rarely does midmak need to dry more
than two days. ____________________________________________________________
Wall
J
Coursing and pudding: This construction method is found
in many places in the Middle East, especially in the southern part of Saudi
Arabia and Yemen. Coursing, locally called midmak, is a layer of mud shaped by
hand or with a tool (Leslie, 1991)., On the following day, the mix is laid by
hand on the foundation ", Leslie (1991) states," Some builders prefer to complete
the entire midmak on the wall in one day.".____________________________________________
[
Flat roof ~L
After the wall construction finishes, the ceiling is then
constructed with branches of the palm trees. Then, On top of these
beams small tree branches are placed and covered by palm leaves and
branches and locally produced woven straw mats. Layer of clay mixed
with straw then level the surface of the next floor by bonding it in.
Dome and vault
V
L
Domes and vaults are usually employed when wood and trees are scare.
The most well-known dome construction technique is the parabolic dome
technique that was originally brought in from Egypt.
Finishing
1
After the wall is constructed, midmak is rubbed with wood in order to make
it smoother. This method of raising walls is not widely employed because it is
assumed to be the most expensive way of wall construction (Salma, 1989).
60


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
p re paration of brickb
?* Mud wall usually consists of different layers of sun-dried bricks made of earth and mixed with dirt and water. The earth with the dirt is usually left to soak in water for approximately 24 hours and then left to dry for ten days before use (Moughtin, 1985).
Foundation ||
just beneath the loose topsoil," Moughtin states (1985), Mud foundations without footings are constructed in the trenches, the load of the roof and wall being distributed over a targe area of subsoil because of the large batter given to the wall". A wide external plinth at the base is made tn prnlerl targe dwellings from erosion.
f Wall b The construction of walls take place by laying two to three layers of mud bricks everyday. After reaching the height of the door lintel, builders suspend the whole work until the wall completely dries. Builders discovered, through generations of experience, that the wall thickness should decrease at the top to provide more stability (Frescura, 1981). The wall is strengthened bv nieces of palm trees to resist thatched roof weight.
Flat roof b
between 0.2m and 0.3 m Thatch is brought up to the site in bundles of about 8m long and up to 1.5m. wide, depending on the length of grass available. The grass is held together near the thick ends with one raw of sewing, and is unrolled from the bottom of the roof towards the apex The thick ends of the grass are at the bottom, each layer of grass overlapping the one below by a few centimeters less than its total length," (Moughtin, 1985).
Dome and vault ^
>)/t Zx l'>fi $' \X Domes and vaults are not found in West and South Africa.
Finishing ^
Finally, builders cover the external surface of the wall with fine mud
plaster using their fingers or arms to form a protective rough surface from
weather and rain (Moughtin, 1985).
61


Architecture Thesis
Fail 1994
Preparation of brie
i
1
The wall bricks are prepared in a molds made of of wood. The mud is
molded near the site to cut down the expenses of transportation. After the
adobe bricks dry, they are arranged in successive rows for the next day
wall construction.
Foundation
Â¥
r
The underground depth of the foundations depends on the nature of the
ground in which foundations are laid. The next stage is to lay ( thin,
strong tree branches) in the depth of the trench just dug, and dust them
with salt, which absorbs the water and deters underground insects.,
Wall
1

I?
Si
After the foundation have been built to a height of 3 adru (1.5 m) above
the ground level, the formation of rows stones are raised 50 cm. The
thickness of the wall gradually decreases and slangs inwards when it
reaches higher floors.
WE
T (
k
Flat roof
After the wall construction finishes, the ceiling is then
constructed with branches of the palm trees. Then, On top of these
beams small tree branches are placed and covered by palm leaves and
branches and locally produced woven straw mats. Layer of clay mixed
with straw then level the surface of the next floor by bonding it in.
Dome and vault
V
M
Domes and vaults are not employed in Yemen.
1
Finishing
Bright colors might be added to the nurah or mud that
result in different colors of plaster. The technique of colored plaster was first
applied by Indians in which became part of Yemeni architectural heritage later,"
The architecture movement in Tarim led to the development of a class builders
and experts in nurah plastering and painting whose reputation extended
throughout the country," (Salma, 1989).
Him in
* i
62


Chapter Four
ILLUSTRATIONS OF DWELLING CONSTRUCTION ELEMENTS
THROUGHOUT THE ISLAMIC WORLD
Preparing the brick
Foundation
. Wall
Flat roof
Dome an vault
Finishing


Architecture Thesis Fall 1994
I The technique Originated Transfem through ;d Adapted by
Adobe sun-dried brick Egypt Arabia Yemen Egypt Arabia Yemen Egypt Arabia Yemen
South Africa Afghan North Africa * South. Africa / Afghan North Africa South Africa . Afghan North Africa
West Africa Others West Africa Others West Africa Others
Rammed Earth Egypt Arabia Yemen Egypt ^Arabia kYemen Egypt Arabia Yemen
South Africa Afghan North Africa South Africa e f Afghan^ f^NoHfc Africa South Africa Afghan 1 North ;
West Africa China, France West Africa Others West Africa Others
Coursing or Pudding Midmak Egypt Arabia Yemen Egypt Arabia ** Yemen Egypt Arabia Yemen
South Africa Afghan North Africa South Africa Afghan North Africa South Africa Afghan North
West Africa Others West Africa Others West Africa Others
Grass oriented technology Egypt Arabia Yemen Egypt Arabia Yemen Egypt Arabia Yemen
South Africa Afghan North Africa "StlT Africa Afghan ^ North Africa South Africa Afghan North Africa
West Africa Others r. West 4 Africa Others West* Others
Figure 4.1 : The main categories of Mud Construction Techniques (MCTs) found across the Asian and African settlements


Architecture Thesis Fall 1994
I The technique Originated Transfern throuah 3d Adapted by
Adding salt to the foundation Egypt Arabia Yemen Egypt Arabia Yemen Egypt Arabia Yemen
South Africa Afghan North Africa South Africa Afghan North Africa South Africa Afghan North Africa
West Africa not mentioned West Africa Others West AfHea Others
Adobe Brick mixture Egypt Arabia Yemen Egypt : ArabiaV ' Yemen f Egypt Arabia; Yemen
South Africa Afghan North Africa f South ^Africa. Afghan North Africa ;SOUth v Africa Afghan North Africa
West Africa Others West Africa Others West Africa Others
Raising the foundation base above ground level Egypt Arabia Yemen Egypt Arabia Yemen Egypt Arabia iffs,
South Africa Afghan North Africa South Africa Afghan North Africa T555ST" Africa Afghan North Africa
West Africa not mentioned West Africa Others West Africa ... Others
Timing of construction Egypt Arabia Yemen Egypt Arabia Yemen Egypt Arabia '8 Yemen
South Africa Afghan North Africa South Africa Afghan North Africa South Africa Afghan North Africa
West Africa Climatic response West Africa Others West Africa Others
Decreasing the wall thickness while lifted up Egypt Arabia Yemen Egypt Arabia Yemen Egypt Arabia \ Yemen
South Africa Afghan North Africa South Africa Afghan North Africa South Africa Afghan North Africa
West Africa Others "lif Others West Africa Others
Figure 4.2.a : Different construction techniques found across the Asian and African settlements


Architecture Thesis Fall 1994
1 The technique Or iginated Transfern throuah id Adapted by
Egypt Arabia Yemen Egypt Arabia Yemen Egypt Arabia Yemen
Dome and vault South Africa Afghan North Africa South Africa Afghan North Africa South Africa Afghan. North Africa
West Africa not mentioned West Africa Others West Africa Others
Thatched roof Egypt Arabia Yemen Egypt Arabia Yemen Egypt Arabia Yemen
South Africa Afghan North Africa South Africa Afghan North Africa r.soutfv Africa Afghan North Africa
West Africa Others West Africa Others West Afiffca Others
Mud plastering Egypt Arabia Yemen Egypt Arabia Yemen Egypt Arabia Yemen
South Africa Afghan North Africa South Africa Afghan North Africa South Africa Afghan North Africa
West Africa notm antioned West Africa Others West Africa Others
Color plastering Egypt Arabia Yemen Egypt Arabia Yemen Egypt Arabia Yemen
South Africa Afghan North Africa South Africa Afghan North Africa South Africa Afghan North Africa
West Africa India Jilt j Others West Africa Others
Unit scale Zera Egypt Arabia Yemen Egypt Arabia 1 r "" :* Yemen Egypt Arabia Yemen
South Africa Afghan North Africa South Africa Afghan North Africa South Africa Afghan North ,.,AMci
West Africa Others Others -?f West Africa Others
Figure 4.2.b : Different construction techniques found across the Asian and African settlements
\o


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
Conclusions and further recommendations
This paper investigated the role of individual and parameters influencing the
evolution process of the most prevalent mud construction technologies throughout the
Islamic world. The following conclusions are based on the data, information and other
works presented in this paper:
All of the materials reviewed from literature on the evolution of the MCTs are
summarized in figures and tables. Each figure represents the steps involved in the
construction of mud dwellings in different geographical areas. Tables, on the other
hand, represent mud construction techniques and their evolution between and within
the specified geographical areas.
The role of individual in the process of handing down techniques to the next
generation is the most single important parameter in the process of originating,
transferring and adapting techniques
There are two factors governing the inter-cultural technological similarities observed:
The transfer of technologies between different geographical areas
The process of independent evolution of technologies (parallel
architectural development). The mimicry of climate, socio-economic, local
materials parameters between some Islamic settlements is the factor that
gave rise to parallel architectural development. This phenomenon is well
presented by the development of grass oriented technologies architecture
between the two remote societies ( South Africa and Afghanistan).
66


Architecture Thesis
Fall 1994
Further laboratory research on the improvement of mud quality to enhance its
utilization to meet codes and specification of the modem building standard.
Further research is needed on the practical methods of teaching local inhabitants the
proper methods of applying local technologies.
67


References:
Frescura, Franco. Rural Shelter in Southern Africa. Ravan Press 409-416 dunwell 35
Jorissen Street Braamfontein, Johannesburg 2001 South Africa. 1981
Hallet, Stanley and Ira. Samizay, Rafi. Traditional Architecture of Afghanistan.
Garland STPM Press 136 madison Avenue, New York, New York 10016 1980.
Costa, Paolo, and Vicario, Ennio. Arabia Flex A Land of Builders. Rizzoli
international Publications, Inc. 712 Fifth Avenue New York, N.Y. 10019.1977
Oliver, Paul. Shelter In Africa. Praeger Publishers Inc. 111 Fourth Avenue, New
York, N.Y. 10003 1971
Moughtin, J. C. Hausa Architecture. Ethnographica Ltd. 19 westboume road.
LondonN7 1985
Rudofsky, Bernard. Architecture without Architects, the Museum of Modem Art new
York. 1964
Konya, Allan. Design Primer fot Hot Climates. Whitney Library of Design. 1515
Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10036 1980
Oliver, Paul. Dwellings The House across the world. University of Texas Press. 1987
Shakur, Tasleem. Construction Technologies in Context. Mimar Magazine, 38,
March, 1991.
Oliver, Paul. Transmitting Technology. Mimar Magazine, 38, March, 1991.
Drewer, Stephen. Technology Development. Mimar Magazine, 38, March, 1991.
Lesilie, Jolvon. Building with earth in South Arabia. Mimar Magazine, 38, March,
1991.



'hiieciure Thesis.
The Prominent Mud
Construction Techniques in tinJ
Islamic World:
Origination,
Transfer,
and Adaptation
Prnenlttl dr
Amjed A. Magharbi
Supervisors
Prof. Phillip Gallegos
Prof. Phillip Tabb
Acknowledgment
I gratefully express my appreciation to
those from whom I have learnt a tot in
the architectural field
Fnftnvn
Gallegos Tabb
Thank you,,
Amjed
^3
Page 1


Generation of the Semi- nomadic life
' The increase in number of the nomadic
groups
' Searching for the natural resources... enter,
grazing lands ..JBte,
' Defence from enemies and envaders
During the semi-nomadic generations
Vaulted tents:
were I be h DindlffrilionN of (ante found in Northern Africa. -
Iran and AlgbaitMan to withstand men- weather differences ^

Rural Settlement (ienerntiun
bawd on local material', and iht-ir background
experience.' peoplr elaborated new dwcHmg form.'.
In fact, two different constructional approaches
were found:
Earth oriented technology
Gran oriented technology

Page 2


Earth oriented technology
Earth oriented technology
Grass oriented technology
People in South Africa. West Africa am!
Afghanistan developed the hut with new techniques
J*.

L . -

hi which have become oue of their
cull isal heritage later
Main settlement patterns
Molecular settlement pattern
umtk.ynat. WestAfiianutdIttJm
jAudeated settlement pattern
Mint Atnbmn rrgtom
; Unear settlement pattern
(ihammmd tfyhanabut

TWtMSFW or TKCKMO&oaY

6 FAMILY 6 SOCIETY 6 INTERACTION
j FAMILY MEMBERS:
Qrmdfadm, fetm. wda and non
j SOCIETY MEMBERS:
Martor buridar. nwnni buddar and labor worker
jNTERACTIONWrTHOTHERSOCmmS:
bamipanta. bevel at a and buidara tte aaatdaban ot atm tooabee
anhtaebn
The city location caj'
play a main role in'transformation"
that would result in a unique architectural style
of that city later...

Page 3


The technique Originated Trrst*?*rt Employed by
i 1 1 rr:
1 LJ r .
-1
Pommofl Eon* i -f-

Coortg or IWiil . 1 .. i
. | - I- i

OMM IMHO wdwanw - 1 i i
1 .a "i

IM (CPlO 2m |
1 "FS'I '

The technique Ongi rated Tran storrod Employed by
AMni MR 10 Iho founOonon
"TT I :

AOOPO Stick nutur* -L- I; .1"
.1

1 i zznniz
1 i
*
flmmo et conduction 1 1 ...
1 i 3

Oocroottfvj im *oR tfucknoM (Ml UftoO up - j,
r

The technique Or igirated Em ployed by
Doit* f>4 vault * -i L
1 i fc

TtWiMRfW I i I -
1 i 1

IM plowing 1 i -
1 i

CM plowing 1 p" - C
1 r ,

"TTT T T
... 1 ~l
ri rf
Rural settlements
architecture seems to be
the most effective solution
for housing problems and
poor comunity arround the
world
E
£ ..
Page 4