Bamileke Box House

Bamileke Culture (Grassfields) is the largest ethnic group in Camaroon, Africa, with 9 millions people, and living in the Northwest and West regions of the country. Bamileke traces its origins to Egypt before the 11th century CE. The unique architecture or the houses features a "box" of bamboo multilayered screens that is built in four sides on the ground and raised into place to support a multi-layered flat roof. The box is surrounded by carved totemic wooden columns representing the ancestors. The column and the screened box support a thatch covered dome of bamboo, the plan of which is close to what contemporary mathematicians would call a "super-ellipse" (a shape half way between a circle and a square). The space above the box and under the roof functions as an attic/granary, accessed from below by a ladder. The screen construction allows for good cross ventilation year round. Smoke from the house kitchen rises through the ceiling of the box and though the thatch and acts as a pest control for the stored grains.

Elevation: average elevation is 450 meters (1476 feet) above sea level.

Materials include bamboo wall and ceiling multi-layered and rood dome, with thatch roofing, stone and mud flooring.

Data for CG model:
1. Tsambang Fokou, Stheve Cedrix and Fansi Djeukoua, Christolle 2017; Architecture, ouest Cameroun, La Symbolique de L'objet: Reappropriation de la Case Bamileke, Chorus Architecture, Cameroon.
2. Donfack, Yves Aurélien Kana, et al, 2011; Evolution de l'habitat traditionnel en Afrique, Exemple de la province de l'Ouest au Cameroun,
Technischen Universität Berlin (Dissertation).

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© 2009, Dennis R. Holloway Architect