gurunsi earth houses of burkina faso gurunsi earth houses of burkina faso
feb 02, 2013

gurunsi earth houses of burkina faso

kassena village, tiébélé, burkina fasoimage © scott worthington

 

 

the small country of burkina faso near the border to ghana may not have many resources or economic wealth, but with the plentiful raw materials available the kassena people make some of the most culturally rich and architecturally beautiful villages, such as this one in tiébélé, built using traditional gurunsi vernacular. the dwellings occupy a community of just over one hectare in area, and are made of a sun-dried mix of clay, soil, straw and cow droppings moistened to a perfect mortar, mixed by foot to create strong pottery-like structures. these techniques actually preceded the well known mud-brick constructions of indigenous peoples in the area. layer upon layer are added when needed, maintaining the necessary wall thickness to withstand rainstorms and extreme temperatures. short walls are used as urban landscaping elements, provide a buttressing support, and offer supplementary places to sit or work.

 

the most amazing feature, however, is the intricate ornamentation that covers almost every square inch of the dwellings, painted with colored mud and chalk that tell an expressive story of the ancient tribe’s culture. the motifs can illustrate just about anything from objects used in normal daily life, to religion and beliefs, to decorative patterns that distinguish one house from the other. the artwork is then embossed with rocks and etchings that highlight the designs and give a truly unique character. the material, along with small openings usually located closer to the ground assist in comfortable interior temperatures. the construction is made with abundant resources found on site that can be re-applied endlessly.

 

 

kassena village, tiébélé, burkina fasoimage © scott worthington

 

 

kassena village, tiébélé, burkina fasoimage © rita willaert

 

 

kassena village, tiébélé, burkina fasoimage © rita willaert

 

 

kassena village, tiébélé, burkina fasoimage © rita willaert

 

 

kassena village, tiébélé, burkina fasoimage © rita willaert

 

 

kassena village, tiébélé, burkina fasoimage © rita willaert

 

 

kassena village, tiébélé, burkina fasoimage © rita willaert

 

 

kassena village, tiébélé, burkina fasoimage © rita willaert

 

 

kassena village, tiébélé, burkina fasoimage © rita willaert

 

 

kassena village, tiébélé, burkina fasoimage © rita willaert

 

 

kassena village, tiébélé, burkina fasoimage © rita willaert

 

 

kassena village, tiébélé, burkina fasoimage © scott worthington

 

 

kassena village, tiébélé, burkina fasoimage © scott worthington

  • amazing places/pictures!

    Nigel Boldero says:
  • Love the geometric design. And dont we witness a comeback of b/w geometric design these days?

    Chael says:
  • Great!

    joseph gillians says:
  • beauty by design 🙂 gorgeous!

    rp says:
  • Think about these – you lovers of “Gaudi” !!!!!!! (though they would not be great in Europe !)

    Malcolm Reynard says:
  • These are awesome.

    justin says:
  • ah! take us inside… i wanna see inside!

    Julie says:
  • reminds me sooooooooooooooo much in parc guell.

    nils says:
  • Own made houses with endlessly reapplications. Those are the best elements.
    Anyway, I think that Par Guell reminds those dwellings.. 🙂 and I wanna see the inside too!

    MJ says:
  • These are similar to Fijian Tapa Design patterns.

    Penaia says:
  • great.can be better if i see original owners

    maryam says:
  • how much rain fall is there? how do they make their roofs? I am building in the Mojave Desert, no dung? unless I run after the few cattle,roaming about there! ? good idea, with this mix, no need to pack into a bag, single or row like what I have learned with the earth bags, would love answers, they are wonderful!!! I am an artist mostly! so of course! love them!

    jehane says:
  • These houses may require frequent repair during and after heavy rains or after any natural disaster like earthquake/storm/floods etc as safety of the construction is quite circumspect! and there is no ventilation (there are no windows!)
    Sangeeta Wij
    India

    Sangeeta Wij says:

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