The integration of traditional and modern architectural form : a proposed socially active centre for skills development in Southern Africa.
This research is a study of traditional and modern architecture and how the aforementioned systems can and should integrate into Afro-centric architecture. The emphasis was on the architecture one tends to enjoy as an African, explored and juxtaposed against the thoughts and theoretical frameworks of culture sensitive architects worldwide. In this dissertation, the aspects of integrative theory were explored. Primary theories dealing with sustainability, New African Architecture, Indigenous Knowledge and Semiology were assessed as well. The differences between traditional Africa and modern adaptations, both positive and negative, were the limit of the research. In the dissertation certain key questions are posed to drive the inquiry of the document. The hypothesis is the conjecture that a connection between modernized architecture and traditional semiotics exists and can be cultivated to flourish, developing African architecture at all levels. This conjecture acts as a base for primary and secondary research. There are accounts listed in this dissertation of richly meaningful and sensitive traditional architecture that show a connection between American, Asian, African and European primitive building styles. These accounts show practices that have lasted near as long as the society that invented them. The gathered information shows that these examples have undergone little change over the years. The dissertation argues that the value these instances of traditional architectural meaning lessened over the years due to a shift in cultural paradigms. Further chapters in the study address cosmology, African attitudes to space, the reinvention of old materials and the manifestation and celebration of new tectonic relationships. Lessons collected on the above listed issues were related against findings from verbal interviews, written questionnaires and observations at the site of case studies. It is the researcher’s desire to explore the potential for an integrative developmental institute. To this end, an assessment has been done both in the form of precedent embedded in the text and Case Studies of relevant buildings that relate to the subject matter of the dissertation. The analysis of these assessments shows a manifested potential for the integration of traditional designs with modern building.