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Architecture in Northern Ghana: A Study of Forms and Functions

Summary of Book

Survey illustrates building technology as architecture through focusing on the quality of space created by a system of values inherent in culture. Prussin identifies how a symbolic cultural system manifested itself through a working language, often narrowly labeled as ‘primitive’ architecture. Here, the study of architectural form is inseparable from the consideration of settlement morphology, bringing together areas of architectural history and social science. In 1961 students would carry out a survey of villages, the purpose of which was to establish planning and building problems posed by growing technological development. Given the lack of theoretical orientation, it became apparent that the understanding of architecture in Ghana needed a narrower survey. Northern Ghana, despite its ecological unity, reveals a number of varied architectural forms and functions. Drawing on anthropological data, the survey investigates six sites and their architectural forms in terms of materials and technology, as well as economic factors and social organization.