WIT Press

Environmental Harmony And The Architecture Of ‘place’ In Yoruba Urbanism


Free (open access)





Page Range

73 - 86




2,893 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


T. Adejumo & M. Adebamowo


Harmony in built environment is based on wholeness with nature through a continuous flow of interactions between values and city form. Wholeness accommodates biomimetic principles that link the natural world to the people in a specific ‘place’. Biomimicry looks beyond imitating form and process in ecosystem to include world view that solves built environment problems and gives meaning to people in a particular ‘place’. The paper examines the foundation of Yoruba cosmological world view in the determination of biomimetic principles that generates environmental harmony through architecture of ‘place’. The research is underpinned by the concepts of mimesis, cosmometry and sense of place. It is phenomenological and adopted qualitative methodology. Data gathered through scoped literature and two hour each interview of seven Ifa educational system sages were analyzed using grounded theory to understand mimetic philosophy of Yoruba urbanism. The study revealed that design template reflected in Yoruba city form is a graphic interpretation of \“Ifa” earth creation mythology. Yoruba cosmogram is a 16 sided polygon with dominant four cardinal points that occasionally surface as square or it’s variant. The study equally identified ‘4’and ‘16’ as Yoruba design numerology. Urban ‘places’ including King’s market, quarter spaces, residential units and their court yards are rectangular in forms. Therefore design templates that create \“Yoruba atmosphere” are the imitation of her cosmogram super imposed on the landscape where geomantic planning enhances periodic access to earth energy through animism religious belief system. The paper recommends that biomimetic design and planning considerations from the bioregional ecosystem must consciously explore forms and processes reflected by the cosmogram and design numerology. Alignment of such biomimetic design form


mimesis, biomimicry, cosmogram, design numerology, earth energy and harmony