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As a prerequisite for the course in the department of Architecture, University of Nigeria Enugu Campus, History of Traditional Architecture in Nigeria (Arc 414); students are expected to visit various states in Nigeria and research on the traditional architecture of their specified states.
In this research, details must be made with careful study on how Nigerians in the past constructed their buildings and how it was done. This also deals with studying building construction methods, building materials used in the past and the general architectural trend of a particular era.
After my lecturer Arc. Okey Nduka shared us into states to visit, I discovered I was assigned to visit Arochukwu. A town in Abia state sharing a border with both Akwa Ibom and Cross Rivers state. Arochukwu has been a history town dating back to the 18th and 19the century with major trading operations going on there following the coming of European traders and missionaries. The town is also known for it’s rich cultural background and religious diversity.
On the 28th of July 2019, we set off for Arochukwu, Abia state as my other classmates dispersed to their various assigned states. We were shared in groups into the following states. Abia, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Delta, Enugu, and Rivers states.
The journey to Abia state was fun though as we were 7 of us. However, the road wasn’t good with respect to quality and standard but we enjoyed the anyway. After about 5 hours of bumping and swaying in the terribly bad road, we got to Arochukwu hale and hearty, safe and sound, thankful and tankful.
We lodged in our group leader’s family house for the night as we slept together knowing we had a long day undeniably ahead of us.
The next day, after morning duties and breakfast, we set off into the community; marching as we went. The villagers of the community kept staring at us, knowing for sure we were on an assignment.
As we researched on the buildings lining the little, wee village; we saw that buildings with historic value and relevance were not lacking but were in their numbers. We saw mud houses built with red mud or clay as you could call it, these mud houses had sticks used as reinforcements aimed at holding the mud together. The roofs were made with raffia palm with bamboo sticks on their top to hold them from falling. We also saw buildings built by European builders way back to the early 1900s and they stood out in their mind blowing, classic elegance.
I won’t go into details as to the methods of construction and processes used in constructing buildings in Arochukwu in the past as it is exclusively reserved for my report.
After 3 days of research, my team “team Abia” returned back to school with full knowledge and unique joy. We learnt a lot with respect to traditional building styles and methods and after the research, we were poised to implement some traditional features in our future designs for potential clients who need unique buildings.
Making up our minds, not just to adopt European and American styles, but to include what we’ve had in the past to blend the contemporary Architecture of today in Nigeria.
Department of Architecture, UNN
Jayamma Abanobi is a youth blogger passionate about writing. He can be reached via email email@example.com