TRADITIONAL ORMA ARCHITECTURE

ABSTRACT
This study analyses traditional Orma architecture found in Tana River county. It examines the Orma cultural beliefs and how they influence their built environment. It also seeks to examine how the Orma built forms have evolved over time. The Orma culture in Tana River is undergoing change with the ongoing development of the region. This change is also reflected in their built environment. However, the modern built forms coming up are not informed by the traditional or cultural values. This poses a threat to the Orma cultural identity with respect to their built forms. Therefore this study seeks to document the traditional Orma built forms, analyze them and come up with design constants that can be integrated into the modern built forms in the region.
From the literature review, the author deduces several cultural and architectural constants, such as centralism, hierachy, polygamy, radial organisation, minimalism, mobility, fluidity among others. From these constants certain parameters ar established to be used to come up with variables for collecting data while in the field. Data is collected through observation and interview techniques. Free hand sketches, photographs, notes and descriptions were used to analyze and record the data obtained in the field.The findings reveal that there are cultural and architectural constants that are in line with the parameters that were established during the literature review, such as centralism, hierachy, polygamy, radial organisation, minimalism, mobility, fluidity among others. However, some inonsistencies were brought to light, such as the confusion between Orma and Wardei built forms.
The author recommends that these design constants should be incorporated in future development of the region’s built environment to integrate the traditional Orma values into the modern built environment and come up with a regionalistic architecture.

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