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An Architectural Reading of Manliness

Precious Ndukuba

Imo State, Nigeria


BA in Architecture


Colonialism, Gender, Economies

In traditional Igbo culture, a man without a house of his own, on his home soil, is not a man at all.

Hence, these homes, built by estranged emigrants in rural villages of south-east Nigeria, become incredibly complex emotional externalizations in built form. This dissertation looks to the spatial conditions of these remittance homes to argue that the house, as an object of respect, becomes reflective of the ‘worth’ of an Igbo man. A methodology based around interviews, storytelling, and site studies ensures conclusions drawn speak to the explicitly personal and emotional nature of this home-building process. Analysing homes built by the British-Igbo diaspora, a framework of architectural scales, from 1:1 to 1:2000, is used to question the core role of masculinity and its relationship with tradition, patronage, belonging and trans-national kinship networks. While specifically Igbo, this dissertation offers a way forward in the analysis of these homes across contexts.

One that is gendered, historically contextual, spatial, and personal.

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