The Beautiful Gurunsi Earth Houses of Burkina Faso


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Categories: Homes / Dwellings

The small country of Burkina Faso that borders Ghana may not have many resources or economic wealth, but because of all the raw materials that are available the Kassena people make some of the most culturally rich and architecturally beautiful villages. Such as this one in Tiébélé, built using traditional Gurunsi vernacular.

The dwellings are made of a sun-dried mix of clay, soil, straw and cow droppings moistened to a perfect mortar, mixed by foot to create strong pottery-like structures.


These techniques actually preceded the well known mud-brick constructions of indigenous peoples in the area. To maintain the accurate thickness of the walls and to withstand the high temperatures, they can add layer after layer at any point. Their rainstorms could be an issue, but because they can reapply at any point, there is no fear of them.  Short walls are used as urban landscaping elements, provide a buttressing support, and offer supplementary places to sit or work.

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