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  • Traditional African adobe style home of Will & Jada Pinkett Smith Exterior  →  Source:

    Traditional Modernism in Malibu

    Bold and dramatic with an unmistakable African vibe, this home evokes a traditional-modernism that is inviting, warm and classic; a design style that echoes the adobe Palace of the Emir of Katsina with its thick tubali mud block walls that suggest massiveness and grandeur (below).

  • Replica of traditional African adobe palace Exterior  →  Source: ATN

    Grand adobe structures of ancient Kano or Kanem-Bornu empire such as this replica of the Emir of Katsina's palace at the Museum of Traditional Nigerian Architecture (MoTNA, Jos), were constructed with basic materials, monochromatic walls and emphasized indoor-outdoor living spaces and natural lighting (above and below).

  • Exterior  →  Source: ATN

    Ancient African home designs ranged from simple structures made of reeds and wattle to elegant adobe palaces, unadulterated with foreign cultural concepts. This simplicity, notwithstanding, the homes were warm, inviting and alive with traditional treasures to create unique personalized spaces that echo family values.

  • Home of Will & Jada Pinkett Smith, inspired by traditional mud architecture of West Africa Exterior  →  Source:

    Replicating this essence in our 21st century modern global aesthetics assumes a mixing of modern furnishings and multiple cultural concepts to create a classic ambiance that is unique and personalized.

  • Africa-inspired living room design Living/Sitting Room  →  Source:

    In designing this project for the Smith family, Stephen Samuelson looked to Africa for inspiration. He worked in close collaboration with architect Harry Perez-Daple as well as Judith Lance for the interior design. The result of this collaboration is a structure that evokes the spirit of North and West Africa.

  • Living/Sitting Room  →  Source:

    Notice that the ceiling of the living room in the Smith home (left) uses a wood beams and wattle system similar to the mud beams and wattle of the traditional Katsina adobe structure (right).

  • Malibu home of Will & Jada Pinkett Smith Source:

    Incidentally, the southern California region of the US is similar to the Sahel region of northern Nigeria. Each is typified by shrub-land with rocky outcroppings and undulating hills. If you're building in Jos, or anywhere in Taraba state, Kaduna state, etc, aspects of this design style may be useful to you. (Use ATN forum to start a discussion.)

Across Nigeria are multiple of examples of traditional architecture. These structures, in villages and small towns, hold design ideas and traditional wisdom we can incorporate in contemporary designs of today. How can we in Africa take inspiration from the architectural traditions of our past to create modern homes for our future?


View more home inspiration, design ideas and tips: Homes

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