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  1. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why do Africans live in mud huts?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by art, Dec 11, 2010.

    Many Africans don't live in huts. Many do.
    Why do those who do live in huts, live in huts?
     
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  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Because it is a good solid design using the materials from the enviroment around you. Fast to construct etc It is a design many cultures have used including in the UK for many thousands of years.

    Fire those mud huts and they are the strongest most durable structures we have. Nader Khalili and CalEarth are well worth looking up - his rammed earth and ceramic houses broke the equipment of the California earthquake testing equipment before they could test at which point it would collapse. Water does effect them and if they catch fire depending on the earth used the basic building becomes stronger.

    Some of the buildings in the desert are that strong because of the heat. Middle East they have some buildings that were previously kilns and noticed they stood during Earthquakes when others fell.

    I may not be African but I have a huge desire to build a mudhut for me and my family here in the UK - trouble is despite being the best insulated structure and ridiculously enviromentally friendly - it won't make the EU's new enviromental regulations because you can't add additional insulation :)
     
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  3. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    That, and with the rain we get in the UK, it'd be a mud puddle before long.
     
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  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    lol

    The Iron Age and Anglo Saxons managed with our version of mud huts fine :) Them wattle and daub buildings do OK as well. Places like Chester and Winchester etc still have timber and our version of mudhuts in the high streets.

    If you fire it - you can turn it ceramic complete with glaze or ram the earth into bags then lime it :) I have given the whole building a mud hut thing way too much thought out.
     
  5. MetalRenard
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    MetalRenard Member

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    Elgaisma you've made my day :D
     
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  6. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    Cheers Elgaisma!

    What if the question is changed a little?
    What if the question is 'Why do Africans still live in mud huts?'
     
  7. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    The answer is mostly the same - it is affordable for their situation, practical for where they live. And also it stays cool in the heat better than other more standard constructions - the ceramic houses/mud houses in the Mojave desert are cooler than my Mother in Laws air conditioned house.

    Plus you can build it yourself quickly.
     
  8. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Bricks are essentially mud. Why do we live in mud huts?
     
  9. Capt Bob
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    Capt Bob Senior Member

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    For a peoples with primitive architectural abilities they are extraordinary. And also primitive tools, no Bank mortgage required.

    A great leap forward was made after the white man came with beer. Now they are raised on stilts, which both prevent the rats from taking midnight snacks from the refrigerator and the empty beer cans from rolling back into the living room.

    Here in America housing evolved also. The native Indian had the tepee, notable for allowing the smoke from the cook-fire to escape upwards. And also be taken down or erected in minutes, and portable for following the seasonal game migrations. The Africans should take note!.

    Also take note of the Indians moccasins. In a hazardous environment full of snakes and thorns, why go barefoot in the age of the "Shoe"?.

    Why they don't wear shoes is also a good question???.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    because they have no viable alternative!

    as for why mud huts, that's because there's no better building material available in good enough supply...
     
  11. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yep. There are few resources to work with, little money, and mud huts have been around for centuries. Being that they lack heating/cooling abilities, I doubt insulation is really a consideration.
     
  12. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Have you ever experienced the extremes of temperature in Africa? The heat of the day and the cold of the night? If you are going to manage without central heating and air conditioning, mud huts are the best. Their thermal mass means they absorbs heat during the day heating the house at night and cooling the house during the day. Fact is our primitive ancestors were not stupid they had the same needs as we do today and chose the best building material available.

    Fact is a mud hut is still most ecological, best insulated, best cooling most robust construction. That mankind has available to them.
     
  13. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    That may be stretching the truth a little, but I understand where you are coming from ;)

    I think that poverty and the cheap availability of dirt ("oh look, there's some now") is the driving factor for hut construction. Wealthy people all over the world opt for the benefits of other materials in housing. Even in Africa, dirt is at the bottom of the "Things I would build my dream home from" list.
     
  14. garmar69
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    garmar69 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Because they have a lot of mud. :D
     
  15. wolfi
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    wolfi Contributing Member

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    Simple why do they do it?

    well many reason the above have said


    but here is one
    much like some of the Indians in the usa now days its tradition
     
  16. PurpleCandle
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    PurpleCandle Senior Member

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    Along with other reasons already mentioned you also have to remember that some of those cultures are nomadic. They move their grazing animals around and well as moving with the seasons-moving were they find water. Therefore, they need to be able to quickly build affordable housing.

    Also to mention here is that polygamy is practiced throughout African countries meaning that one man is responsible for housing several wives (often giving each wife their own house) and for the numerous children polygamy results in. So, even if the man is well off, it could be nearly impossible to house all their wives and children comfortably unless they can build houses cheaply.
     
  17. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I may revise the following in the morning I have drunk a bottle of wine having had no alcohol at all for 20 years.

    The purpose of building a shelter is to provide shelter and protection from the elements. Fact is mud hut built in the correct shape with the right level of straw and manure is still one of the best for that. It provides a level of protection from the searing heat and freezing cold at night of Africa that a traditional construction house would require the addition of cooling or heating to accomplish the same thing.

    Basic physics tells you why it is better than most. Like I say rammed earth construction has proven to be the most Earthquake proof buildings in California. The Calearth has the details.

    Being a poor person or a member of a primitive tribe does not automatically = idiot. You still choose the best most effcient shelter available to you. Which is something those of us living in the Western World tend not to consider when building our houses.

    You see it in Scotland - the difference between the poor fishermans houses built side on to the gales and so the door opened close to the next house providing insulation. Compared to the wealthier people who could afford fires choosing grand houses with views (not practical and not sensible - even in 2010 are expensive in their upkeep and need to be painted with oil based paint to protect them).

    Fact is the African living in a mud hut has chosen the best insulation and protection from their elements available to them. Even in the areas where there are enough trees etc to allow an Amish/Tudor style wattle and daub construction for the same price.

    Earth rammed houses are amazing how many have you slept in? Having helped construct and lived in an Iron Age roundhouse and visited the rammed earth structures in the Mojave desert if I was living in the desert I would choose a ceramic dome or vault house over my Mother in Laws more standard construction - in Scotland just covering it in dirt makes a huge difference to help with climate. etc

    EDIT: Plus one roomed earth rammed houses can be constructed in 24 horus
     
  18. wolfi
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    wolfi Contributing Member

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    Just a qurestion have you thgout these pepole dont care if they have a "Dream house?


    Unlike in the usa and many others, where we are very picky
    they will take what they can




    ask your self do you need the HUGE house you live in?
    (more then three rooms is huge to them)
     
  19. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not doubting that earthen construction is awesome. I plan to build a recessed straw/clay home in the next 10 years or so. What I am saying is that for most Africans, mud is the only real option they have for housing construction (when living in tribal areas). I believe that MOST Africans now live in in urban zones that employ more traditional building methods.


    Well that is a different question entirely than "why do they live in mud huts".
     
  20. wolfi
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    wolfi Contributing Member

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    I'm awnsring the question with a question
    bad habit

    but i belive thats the way to go with this

    they dont want\need the four or so rooms most of the time

    its cheeper and gets what they need so they build the mud huts
    why build what you dont need?
    thats how they where brought up, they areint thaught to go "big"
    Unlike most of us
     
  21. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If I see any hint of bigotry in this thread, it will be closed, and those responsible will face infraction or a ban.

    The question itself, as asked, is dangerously close to bigotry. But I decided to let it stay, as long as nobody crosses the line.

    Tread very carefully, folks.
     
  22. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, I saw that near-miss too.
     
  23. PurpleCandle
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    PurpleCandle Senior Member

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    I do not know what you are talking about with a near miss...

    But if it was something I said..I apologize! I just offered up two other reasons based on what some of my African (Niger and Nigeria) friends have said.
     
  24. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    Indeed it is. And so it was intended. The still, in a certain light, is devastatingly judgemental.

    I am currently trying to challenge this very bigotry in others. 'Tis an interesting question. Why do some live in huts and others skyscapers? Is living in skyscrapers more desirable than living in huts? What does their living in skyscrapers say about the skyscrape folk? What does their living in mud huts say about the mud hut folk? Is material abundance a mark of cultural sophistication? Why does material abundance occur in some places and not others? And so on.
     
  25. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    This is not the place flor deliberately provocative questions.

    I am closing this thread.
     
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