Essay Outline on African Architecture

Essay Outline on African Architecture

Length: 440 words (1.3 double-spaced pages)

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The reason I choose this title is that African Architecture has a close connection to nature, and the two cannot be separated.

- African Architecture is an extension of Nature because it does not attempt to disturb or separate itself from nature. Instead, it attempts to complement nature and employ natural resources to accomplish its purpose.

Context/Connection to Class:

Context- The purpose of this presentation is to inform my fellow classmates about the main concepts that inspire African Architecture and to show how these concepts can have effective applications in modern society.

Connection - This is relevant to our class because throughout our studies we have seen that African art is usually functional. Some of the examples we have covered include the huge vases and the baskets which are both used in every day life. A main concept of this class is to understand that African art is not separate from African life, but instead it is part of the day to day life of African people. In turn, African Architecture is part of the day to day life as well.

The functions of Art: Art must satisfy

1) Our personal needs for expression

-African architecture allows the architect to express the importance of nature, which reflects on the African culture.

2) Our social needs for communication, celebration, and display

- Decoration of the African homes is a great example of how Africans use Architecture to display, and communicate

3) our physical needs for useful objects and structures

- Architecture is functional in that it provides one of the three necessities of man (shelter)

Why I chose this?

- Being an Engineer, I find that the techniques an architect uses to accomplish his task and make a statement at the same time very interesting.

- An architect has the obstacle of making his work both useful and artistic.

- When given a problem, other types of engineers will just solve that problem while architects must solve the problem and also have it be aesthetically pleasing.

- In a sense, Architects must be true Rennaissance men in that they must be masters of both science and the arts.

Historical and Contextual Background:

History of Classical Architecture: Vitruvian Man Image/Primitive builder image

- Classical Architecture is based on the ideas of Vitruvius and the Vitruvian Man.

- Vitruvian Man image portrays the importance of symmetry and the concept that man is the center of the universe.

- Romans believed that the universe revolved around man and the earth

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- Vitruvius believes that early African architecture is too primitive and should be considered building and not architecture because it does not stand out.

Early African Architecture: Images here

- Has a strong connection with nature and it's surroundings

- Uses materials from nature for its construction

- Round structures and curvey lines have always existed because they emphasize the connection with nature.

- Flowers, trees and plants are used to enhance the beauty.

- Sunlight and air are filtered through using many open spaces to the outside.


1) To show that Traditional African Architecture techniques can be employed today effectively.

2) African Architecture is more environmentally efficient and less costly.

3) Western Architecture is destroying the concepts of African Architecture in Africa today, and in turn is depleting part of the traditional African culture.
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