“This may have led to such misleading conclusions that traditional settlements were laid out at haphazardly or considering a single traditional hut as a complete house instead of a room within the traditional habitat.
The selection of a village site and indeed its layout was a result of sound practical, economic, social and cultural considerations.
The pattern of village development reflected the method of subsistence economy adopted and the impact of extended family.“
Dixion Bwalya questions the current status and future direction of a Zambian architecture published in the Times of Zambia.
The point regarding the idea of house as only understandable as part of the larger site/context/community, is an important one.
This passage is the most interesting one of WAUA’s post about Tax-optimised Architecture
Whether the examples above are true or just folklore, it is both exhilarating and somewhat unnerving to imagine vernacular architecture as not only the product of climate, available construction materials and local cultural traditions, but also the product of a profound unwillingness to pay taxes which is quite apparently engrained deeply in the human consciousness.
Jon Beswick discusses the vernacular architecture he discovered while driving down the west coast of Africa. The quote below suggest that vernacular architecture (at least in Africa) is less about cultural and social conditions and more about a response to climate.
“I discovered that vernacular architecture is not grouped by national boundaries, but rather by climatic region.”
More in Architectural Review (here)