TRANSFORMATION OF BUILT FORM IN HOMA BAY: A study of the Luo and the Abasuba

ABSTRACT

Residen al houses in Homa Bay have evolved over the past 100 years as a result of the changing internal and external pressures and forces. The determi- nants that have in uenced the transforma on in the early 19th Century are markedly di erent from the current ones, with Amos Rapoport sta ng that these determinants of the metamorphosis of built form include but are not limited to: climate and need for shelter, building materials and technology, site, socio-cultural issues, defence, as well as religion.

In line with the lack of e orts by conserva onists and the local county government to preserve the tradi onal architecture within the Lake basin, modern residen al homes are constantly being constructed, and modi ca ons being made to the older.

This research thus aims to inves gate the transforma ons that have occurred among the Luo and the Abasuba communi es, the factors that in uenced the process, as well as the direc on which the current houses are heading. Analysis of the tradi onal, semi tradi onal houses on both Homa Bay and Rusinga Island is subsequently conducted and evaluated, to examine the possible di erences between the construc on methods and materials and sugges- ons then made on how future houses should be built in the future.

Following parameters determined in the Literature Review, the eldwork is conducted using the Case Study design strategy, favored because of its breadth and adaptability to the nuances if the subject ma er. The author studies Homa Bay Town and Rusinga Island, selec ng case studies at a homestead level, and further selec ng a singular housing unit for further analysis. The three levels of transforma on iden ed are at the village, homestead and Unit level, with tradi onal, semi tradi onal and modern stages iden ed as the key markers of transforma on.

The study nds evidence that Luo and Abasuba houses have indeed transformed and will con nue to do so in future. Addi onally, addi onal determinants of transforma on have been iden ed, separate from the ones formerly iden ed by Amos Rapoport and other scholars.

Since this study only focuses on transforma on of built forms in Homa Bay, future studies could also focus on structures in other regions within the Lake basin, such as Migori, Siaya, Kisumu, Kisii, which are also transforming. Furthermore, studies could also extend into Uganda and Tanzania, with studies in towns along the lake-front such as Mwanza.

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