Gidaje : the socio-cultural morphology of Hausa living spaces
Hausa architecture is an important part of African indigenous architecture. In many respects its construction techniques, its wail decoration and its structural forms, have been recognised as unique. Most of the Hausa Architecture studied has been in the form of palaces, mosques and few houses of the affluent, merchants and administrators. However the bulk of the Hausa built environment is, and for long has been, composed of ordinary domestic houses that accommodate the citizens of its cities and hamlets. This work deals with Hausa architecture as found in the older parts a major Hausa urban centre; to wit the walled city of Kano. The Kano built environment is composed of several forms of architecture, but the main concern here is specifically with the Hausa domestic architecture in the walled city of Kano. The study is informed by the theoretical proposition that a correlation exists between the spatial organisation of domestic house and the social life of its inhabitants; consequently changes in one result in changes in the other and vice-versa. The study has four main objectives: to establish the basic characteristics of Hausa domestic architecture, i.e. its dominant spatial themes; to show how the resulting domestic environment is supportive of the Hausa-Islamic culture; to examine the cultural impact of colonialism on the concept of the dwelling unit and by extension, on the culture of the Hausa; and to broaden the data base of an indigenous knowledge system in the field of architecture. The principal findings of the work are: that Hausa domestic architecture as found in the walled city is conceptually of two broad types; that the design concept of these types is rooted in the Hausa socio-cultural paradigm; that the design concept is flexible enough to cater for the subcultural elements that are the hallmarks of any Hausa society; that the changes in the political, economic and social fabric of the Hausa society in its recent history have had very little effect on the spatial quality of Hausa domestic architecture.