Burkina Faso is a land-locked west-african nation that remembers its colonial past and is not ignorant of economic imperial threats. The evolution of burkinabe mud brick shapes, from hand-molded to rectilinear, have subtly affected burkinabe architecture. Again, the introduction of corrugated steel roofs affected the construction process, the interior environment, and the economy of construction. Most recently, the brilliant NGO association de la voute nubienne introduced load-bearing masonry to the country and trained some 700 burkinabes as masons and entrepreneurs by 2009. Their work continues across africa.
Our work in burkina faso pushed avn architecture to the next level with the construction of a third-level earth brick vault, achieving a total building height of 18m. Simultaneously, we built an earth dome in a rural village using a steel jig fabricated from bicycle parts.
Cultural influences were also compared as the colonial church reached 18m in height, and the rural animist/ muslim temple opened its 6 doors to a variety of believers. This work could be seen as a sculptural installation which asks more questions than it answers.
By Austin Hawkins, in collaboration with the NGO Association de la Voute Nubienne (AVN)