Vernacular and low-tech technologies in humanitarian architecture on the example of Senegal

Robert Idem, Katarzyna Zielonko-Jung, Aleksandra Karpińska



Humanitarian architecture belongs to the broader trend of socially engaged architecture, whose main goal is to introduce new values to the quality of life of particular communities. Specifically, humanitarian architecture deals with aid to poverty-stricken communities. The context of economic constraints poses a particular challenge to architects and builders. It is a matter of natural necessity to look for cheap, locally available materials and solutions that can be applied by unskilled labor. The above article discusses the applicability of native and low-tech technologies as basic construction methods for humanitarian architecture. The research focuses on Senegal, located in West Africa. The article aims to identify material and construction solutions in buildings related to humanitarian aid and social support on behalf of the local community, erected or designed in Senegal. An analysis of four examples in Senegal was conducted, namely, two implemented facilities and two planned ones. The basic criteria for the analysis were provided by the social purpose these objects serve, as well as by the materials and technologies applied. The conclusions concern the types and scope of vernacular and low-tech technologies applied, as well as the correlation between the analyzed objects’ design and construction and sustainable development.

Full article view is only available on bigger screens.