Ethiopia is the second-most crowded country in Africa with a near 100 million populace, and just 20% of which live in metropolitan regions. The architecture of Ethiopia shifts extraordinarily from one area to another. Throughout the long term, it has joined different building styles and methods, however, the vernacularity in its architecture has consistently been a vital piece of it. 

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Architecture of Ethiopia _©

History of Architecture of Ethiopia

Ethiopia has an exceptionally assorted history of architecture. During 800 – 400 B.C., Ashlar stonework was prevailing in Ethiopia, as inferred from the South Arabian impact, where the style was incredibly normal for monumental structures. 

The Aksumite architecture of Ethiopia thrived in the district from the fourth century BC onwards. Monumental architectures of this period incorporate enormous underground burial chambers, structures utilizing the utilization of stone monuments burial chambers, for example, “Tomb of the False Door” and tomb of Kaleb and Gebre Mesqel. Most constructions were worked on alternating layers of stone and wood. The distending wooden help radiating in these designs have been named “Monkey Heads”. 

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aksumite architecture _©

The Zagwe architecture of Ethiopia joined more wood and rounder structures in the everyday citizen’s architecture in the focal point of the nation and the south, and these complex impacts were shown in the sluggish development of temples and religious communities. 

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zagwe architecture _©

During the 16th and 17th centuries, Gonder architecture thrived in Ethiopia. There were 44 improved temples worked during the period, yet the majority of them are demolished at this point. Most constructions, similar to royal residences, palaces, and other places of worship, were made of alternating layers of stone and mortar, generally cut and carved stones. 

Walls were exceptionally thick and extremely tall stone structures that were constructed to withstand the attacks. The interior wall and roof are fascinating with the congruity of brilliant shaded works of art of holy messengers. Working in stone and mortar required specialized information, devices, and reasonable stone for cutting into blocks and for carved out shapes. A limestone of eggshells was utilized to prepare the mortar. 

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gonder architecture _©

Utilization of Bamboo 

Ethiopia has two indigenous bamboo species covering around 1,000,000 ha of land:

  1. Yushania Alpina – highland bamboo 
  2. Oxytenanthera Abyssinica – lowland bamboo 

Ethiopia isn’t just supplied with a tremendous bamboo asset yet in addition has exceptionally rich conventional bamboo lodging development procedures, which have been being used apparently for over 1000 years. Bamboo development has a few advantages including arrangements of moderate houses for millions living in provincial spaces of the country, work creation, lessening the weight on normal backwoods for lodging development, and pay age. 

In any case, utilizing bamboo additionally accompanies difficulties as it isn’t perceived as a standard development material in the Ethiopian building regulation. There is an extremely restricted nearby market for bamboo lodging and a couple of neighbourhood craftsmen dealing with bamboo house development. 

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bamboo House In Ethiopia _©

Sidama House 

The Sidama House, which is located in the southern part of Ethiopia, is a beautiful beehive-shaped structure that is made by fixing a layer of undifferentiated woven bamboo onto the construction. The partitions are additionally made of woven bamboo. The vast majority of the houses have two doors, a back, and a front. Juniper tree poles are utilized as a part of the foundation, as it has a long life and is demonstrated to be safe against bugs. Dainty strands of bamboo are set around the edge of the house. 

The walls are made by parting the bamboo into more modest strips. The interior walls have two patterns – Hilo and Himbiro. The Hilo pattern follows a straight weave structure, while the Himbiro pattern has a diagonal weave design. Waterproofing is additionally done utilizing a bamboo sheath. ‘Fuko’ named pattern is weaved on the exterior walls, which has an overlaying impact on the façade. 

A beautiful dome-like shape is made on the rooftop with three layers of bamboo, culm sheaths for insulation and rain protection. A woven basket-like cover outwardly integrates everything and secures the house against the breeze. 

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the Sidama House _©×315/83/39/b8/8339b82212cf7a56d7a68df8f1fdcbaf.jpg

Tigray House 

The Tigray House is found in the northern part of Ethiopia. They are worked from astonishing stone workmanship. It normally has a rectangular shape however sometimes it is rounded. The rooftops are normally flat and wood covered with mortar with overhanging eaves to shield the wall from rain. Sometimes, it has a cone-shaped roof when the structure is rounded. 

On the outside of the building, beautiful stone steps lead to the roof where the roof is used for any purpose. Or then again at times, the house could be a twofold story and the upper floor would be utilized as a room, parlour, or visitor house. The interior wall is coated with white colour which is prepared from local limestone, cow dung, and hay. The ceiling is carved wood arranged in an artistic geometric pattern usually crossed. 

A rich family could have three unattached structures and bound their domain with a stone fence. Timber is used as a lintel at openings. They also insert wood as structural elements and usually, it jets out from the surface as a decoration. It’s known as the “Monkey head”. They could likewise have an outer space utilized as a verandah covered with wooden pergola. Inside, kitchen, they develop a chimney utilized for cooking. 

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the Tigray House _©

Dorze House 

Dorze village is situated high up in the misty huge mountains. Dorze individuals are notable for utilizing all that they developed with no waste. Around their cottages, the Dorze public has their little nursery with vegetables, flavours, yet additionally tobacco and ensete. They are famous for their elephant-shaped or beehive-shaped huts. The reason that they resembled to design their house with elephant shape is that it once lived around their habitation. 

Their home is developed with vertical hardwood shafts and woven. They are utilizing bamboo as an edge structure for the cottages and customarily, they cut the bamboo at moonlight. The dorze hovel has one front entryway and three windows close to the rooftop. For protection purposes, they cover the rooftop with cover and bamboo stems. The transcending design can go as high as 12m and last from 60-80 years. Their cabin is partitioned into – chimney, room, dairy cattle segment, brewery segment. 

Because of the termite assault on the foundation of the cabin, they painstakingly remove the spoiled part, they lift and migrate the hovel somewhere else. That is the reason they construct their cabin so high. With age, the hut gets shorter. The hovels are made symmetrical. The entire house is constructed with almost blind walls except for the door and smoke outlets. Principle space which is incorporated with a second airy space frame the nose-like passageway. 

Flooring, the walls and roofing, and even the partitions are made from bamboo. Doors are usually made of timber. Leaves are used for finishing. Dorze houses are built entirely from organic substances such as bamboo, grass, timber, and enset (false banana) leaves.

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the Dorze House _©

Vernacular architecture has consistently been a part of Ethiopia. Indeed, even today, it has an exceptional spot in Ethiopia. The vernacular structures require a particular ability, which is a couple of individuals’ aces. Trial and error are the basis of knowledge, which is then passed by local traditions.

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vernacular Architecture of Ethiopia _©



Lipika Pandey, is one of the millions of young aspiring architecture students, who is determined to make her successful career in the respective field. She wants to bring a positive change in the society. She is focused and enthusiast on learning new skills and grow. She loves reading and writing.