The Influence of Users’ Popular Traditions in Residential Design The Case of Mlalakuwa Settlement in Dar es Salaam City, Tanzania

  •  Fortunatus Bahendwa    


It is mostly noted that the design for residential purpose is professionally considered universal, distinct and specific. The socio-economic, cultural and traditional aspects which affect the house users’ requirements and hence the residential designs seem to be considered by professionals’ standpoint as a mere user’s ignorance and lack of access to suitable designs. In this respect, the attributes of vernacular and traditional architecture are sought to unpack the intrinsic relevance to contemporary architecture of residential design within the local context. The case study has been conducted in Dar es Salaam city assessing the local residential house owners’ requirements aiming to understand the social, economic and cultural factors which impact the architecture of residential designs. The findings show that residential designs and use are dynamic and likely to transform based on the owners’ evolving socio-cultural, economic and spatial requirements which highlight the relevance of vernacular and traditional architecture. This trend raises the professional concern on the need for further interrogation of current residential architecture approach. Thus, it has been concluded that professionals perspective should opt for less control of residential requirements and emphasise the recognition of socio-economic and cultural aspects which aspire for flexibility of form, function and spatial organization and facilitate design control by the house owner. Such revelation indicate the validity of vernacular and traditional architectural approach which integrate the local knowledge, optimum utilization of resources, nature and built environment.

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