The Institute of Nomadic Architecture

The Institute of Nomadic Architecture is a rich source of information on the traditional architecture of nomadic peoples. They have been researching nomadic architecture for over fifteen years and have over 40,000 images and 500 hours of video clips, as well as detailed notes from all around the world.

They record the structure itself, and where possible more than one of a type, in order to assess the diversity within the group. They attempt to name all the parts in the local language, to measure the sizes of spaces and components, and to understand the structural and environmental logic behind the design. They record the process involved in making the building when possible, and for the mobile structures the way of moving them. They record the way in which the dwelling is occupied, any cultural values such as sacred spaces and the places for different family members and guests. And they try to assess any recent developments that have taken place in the design of the building, whether through the introduction of new materials or through the narrative of older occupants.

As an example of what they have done, here is a video about the bamboo building of the Dorze in the Rift Valley Mountains in Southern Ethiopia. They have learned to split the bamboo and weave it into beehive houses which will last their occupants a whole lifetime. They have recorded the complete process of harvesting, preparing and building these unique houses.

You can visit their Youtube channel to access more videos.

1 thought on “The Institute of Nomadic Architecture”

  1. As always. Very interesting video. I can relate. During one of my earthbag projects in rural Mexico, we needed a few wooden stakes. By the time IĀ“got my jig-saw, change the blade, search for an electric outlet where to plug it, Ezequiel, one of the farmers-trainees, had already produced more than five stakes using only his machete. Thank you Kelly.


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