TRANSFORMED CULTURE, TRANSFORMING BUILTSCAPE: EXPERIENCES FROM NIGERIA
Free (open access)
Volume 7 (2012), Issue 1
69 - 100
Culture has universally been acknowledged as a conditioner of the built environment; conversely, man’s living fabric is a product of his many social, economic, political, and other engagements, i.e. a product of his cultural identity. The paper examines the transformations that have taken place within the Nigerian society, from traditional times to the present, highlighting the phenomena responsible and the direct impact on the built environment. In the panoramic survey of the nation’s ethnicities and landscapes, a north–south dichotomy – already institutionalized in the country’s socio-political structure and general psyche – is adopted. It is posited that the British colonization of Nigeria (and the consequent facilitation of Brazilian and saro influences) greatly impacted the ethnic cultures, translating into physical expressions that, to date, reverberate in contributing to the hybrid styles that characterize both the nation’s vernacular and ‘global style’ building expressions. Sustainability, as a policy to guide physical development, is seen as being only in its infancy in the country. The paper concludes by asserting that, to the extent to which the world continues to tend toward a ‘global culture’, to the same extent will the generality of Nigerian culture continue to be re-defined along similar lines – and with a resultant tangible impact on its builtscape.
Aguda, boys’ quarters phenomenon, British colonization of Nigeria, cultural diffusion, Nigerian culture, Nigerian ethnic groups, north–south dichotomy, saro, traditional building, vernacular architecture