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Architecture of Uganda

This post is about the most common type of houses we see in Uganda, how they are constructed and what architectural elements the builder plays with.

It is always fun travelling, being an architect. In my first year of studies a whole new world became visible. I started looking at the buildings and not only the people or what was happening in the streets. Suddenly so much more was happening. I saw the base, the columns, the floors. How it was planned depending on where the entrance and courtyard was visible. The roof structure and what visible architectural expressions you could model together with those components in that specific surrounding.

A construction site is usually more interesting than the finished building. This is the structure of a typical building outside of town. Big sticks serve as pillars, smaller sticks are tied horizontally on both sides with thin strips of bark as rope. You can also see how the core is dressed with clay or wet dirt which dries in the sun.

Now if you are less wealthy you will first get a corrugated steel roof on your structure. And if you can get doors it is almost finished. Windows you can open up later. If you have windows you will most likely have bars for security. What you really should do to make it sustainable is dress it in plaster.

But as you see in this picture, it is plastered but this particular house is probably made of fired dirt bricks. Like the ones laying next to it. The door is in color. It seems that you first paint doors or windows or the upper part of the front facade. The lower part get so dirty anyway so it is more functional this way.

Then you also have the small roof along the front porch. Now it really starts looking like an old wild western movie except there is very litle wood here. The articulated front facade is also a way of making the house taller so it looks like it is wealthier. But also it is a way to show your business or maybe get paint sponsored for painting it.

The next level of expression may be making architecture of the side facades, like this one

This house is from concrete or burned clay bricks like many in the cities. Now on theese last two examples you can see the stairlike facade, very symetrical and colonial. You all so have the colums even though they are thinner then in the 18th century.

There is partly for supporting the great front, partly for leading the water to the back, but if you go this far in your building you also do some expression of the sides.

Now thislast one is probably the oldest of all buildings in this post.

This is functionalism in Campala. Beautiful house but the wall surrounding it is less fortunate since it doesnt deal with the fact that the street is dirty so maybe a diffrent color could have made it or some fence with green clinging leaves. This is concrete and bricks. It is has four floors but with similar atributes like the other examples. Another difference is that this house has three front facades being set in an intersection. It is painted in boring white, but it has its benefits as this house is very sculptural, having a cap giving a shadow like above windows, the rounded corner on one side and the brick balustrade revealing a hint of that here is a roof terrace to be discovered.

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