Building
Yaama Mosque
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Architect Falke Barmou
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Location Tahoua, Niger, Africa
Date 1962 to 1982   timeline
Building Type church, mosque
 Construction System sun-dried mud brick and wood
Climate desert
Context rural
Style Islamic
Notes 1986 Aga Kahn award. community building project.
Images

 

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Drawings

 

Available on The GBC CD-ROM.

Discussion Yaama Mosque Commentary

"Yaama is a village in the semi-desert region of Niger. Even after more than 60 years of French colonization (which ended in 1960), the area is remarkably untouched by outside influence. So when the village decided in 1962 to build a Friday Mosque in which everyone could gather for prayers they chose to use traditional methods: everyone made a contribution, from the landowner who donated the site, to the people who made mud bricks, carried the water and gathered wood."

"Initially, the mosque was a simple, severe hypostyle hall with the column spacing determined by the spatial demands of kneeling worshippers. In 1975-1976, the original roof structure was replaced by a series of bentwood vaults covered in mud (a method not traditional to the region but adapted from models seen by Barmou on his pilgrimage across Africa to Mecca). At the same time, one of the columns was removed to allow a more or less central dome to be constructed over a clearing among the forest of hypostyle columns. In 1978, towers were built at the four corners and in the next few years galleries were built between them."

— Peter Davey. "The Aga Khan 1986 Awards for Architecture". p87.

"It is a remarkable structure, noteworthy for its innovative approach to the use of traditional materials and building techniques. It uses sun-dried mud brick and wood. Its simple volumes and external masses were described by the AKAA [Aga Khan Award for Architecture] jury as 'breathtaking.' The building, which took so long to build, is the focus of village life in the whole Sahel Region."

— Dennis Sharp. Twentieth Century Architecture: a Visual History. p370.

Details

The village of Yaama chose Falké Barmou to supervise the work and "Barmou, who (like everyone else in the village) earns most of his living as a farmer, made a design which has been cumulatively refined and made more monumental since the project was started in 1962."

—Peter Davey. "The Aga Khan 1986 Awards for Architecture". p87.

Resources
Sources on Yaama Mosque

Peter Davey. "The Aga Kahn 1986 Awards for Architecture", Architectural Review. November, 1986. Volume CLXXX, Number 1077. p85. drawing of floor plan, p87. drawing of section, p87. discussion, p87.

Dennis Sharp. Twentieth Century Architecture: a Visual History. New York: Facts on File, 1990. ISBN 0-8160-2438-3. NA680.S517. discussion and exterior and interior photos, p370. — Available at Amazon.com

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at Amazon.com

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