Earthen Architecture Workshop for Undergraduates and Community Youths

  • Posted by: ICOMOS Secretariat

The workshop for Undergraduates and the youths from Zazzau Communities was held from 22nd to 26th January 2024 at the Institute of Research Development and Training, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State. The four-day event that involved indigenous knowledge transfer, documentation, basic techniques and maintenance of traditional architecture of Northern Nigeria and substantial on-site interaction with St Bartholomew Church, the oldest earthen structure in Wusasa, Zaria, Kaduna state.

Partners: The training was funded by Gerda Henkel Stiftung and facilitated by the International Council on Monuments and Sites – Nigeria in partnership with Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; Zazzau Emirate and St. Bartholomew Anglican Communion Zaria.


The project ensured inclusive participation of the local community (Wusasa and Zaria), the Zaria builders guilds, and academia (faculty and students). There were a total of thirty-two (32) youths and undergraduates selected for the training workshop. Ten (10) community participants comprising five (5) youths from the Wusasa community and five (5) from the Zaria community, and twenty (22) undergraduates from Nigeria higher institutions which were selected through an open call for application.

Undergraduate Participants

Four (4) members of the builders’ guild, five (5) resource persons from the academic institutions and five (5) academic mentors from Ahmadu Bello University were also involved in the training workshop.                 

Participants -Community and Institution





Class Sessions: Resource persons from the academia and builder guild engaged the participants in the following areas.

  • Introduction to Northern Earthen Architecture
  • Brief History of Earthen Architecture from Builders Guild and Academic Perspectives
  • The social organisation of the Builder’s Guild in Northern Traditional Architecture
  • Importance of archaeology on indigenous and contemporary construction practices
  • Materiality – types, how to source, identify and improve construction materials
  • Buildings and Elements of Northern Traditional Architecture
  • Technique for Construction of earthen architecture
  • Indigenous conservation method for floor, wall and roof
  • Spatial configuration of Hausa traditional architecture
  • Indigenous knowledge in contemporary architectural practices
  • Outstanding benefits of Northern Earthen architecture to today’s construction

Hands-on Session: Participants were engaged on the identification of construction materials and tools used in earthen construction in northern Nigeria, and preparation of soil mix and moulding of Tubali.

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