Mchinji

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Thoja village:

 

The chief in this village gave a tour. One of the interesting things noted was a wall that had a piece of plastic sticking out. It was explained that there was a termite problem, a section of wall was taken down and rebuilt. The plastic was added to prevent the movement of termites.  The thach fence belongs to the chief.

Minama village:

 

This home is constructed with sun dried bricks and the plaster has a blueish grey color. The mud for this was gathered a long distance away and described as being from "under a big rock". The door was made from bamboo. The grainery is constructed by creating bundles which are tied on top of wach other.

Chamakala village:

 

This home is a 3 room house constructed with burnt brick Another house in the compound has a reed door. Both houses have roofs made with poles and bamboo.

Manondo village:

 

Thatch is a material in Malawi that is is surprsingly hard to obtain. Thatch is used as the top material ona roof but it is extremely thin. Because of this and to avoid leaks in the rainy season, every vernacular structure has a layer of plastic. The only structures that did not have a layer of plastic were ones that it could not be afforded. This man was attempting to apply (tie down) a layer of plastic but it was too windy to continue..

Benga village:

 

This burnt brick operation is a commercial enterprise. It starts off with digging soil in a pit and then putting the mud in a form. This particular operation has forms that make 4 bricks. The bricks are then laid on the ground to dry and harden enough to stack. The stacking of the bricks is done in a specific way to balance the loads. The amount of wood used to burn the bricks is significant.  .

Bwanzi village:

 

This home is constructed with rammed earth, with the soil dug right on site. The form is 3 pieces of wood joined together with a bike chain. The windows are constructed so that in the future, when it can be afforded, these pieces are knocked out and a wood frame will be inserted. .

Gama village:

 

This home used ashes mixed with the mud to create a white color for plastering. There are some interesting decorations on the building. A grainery is having the roof constructed and the framing members are pretty substantial in size.

Kapiri village:

 

This grainery is extremely large. No other grainery came close to it's size. Not only was the grainery large, it was full. The owner was very excited to share with us. He constructed this in 1 week.

Makhwatha village:

 

This man was setting gum poles to the main rafter beam. The poles were attached with nails.

Mdokho village:

 

This kitchen was constructed of burnt brick and the mud for the plaster was obtained from a nearby river. The kitchen is rectangular, has a door and is completely enclosed except for a few small openings..

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malawi architecture
malawi architecture
malawi architecture
malawi architecture
malawi architecture

Mzembe village:

 

This homestead has a typical house but has other structures that are noteworthy. A kiln has been broken up and the bricks are ready for new construction. A very interesting pigeon/ chicken coop with the chickens in a brick structure supporting a weaved structure to hold pigeons. Another home in the homestaed has plants hanging for decoration..

malawi architecture

Nchiji village:

 

These men are constructing walls for a home with burnt bricks. The corners are constructed 1st to ensure a properly built wall. String and a level is used to ensure level courses.

malawi architecture
malawi architecture
malawi architecture
malawi architecture

Pasani village:

 

This was a home of a 93 year old woman who was not home at the time, she was out collecting water. The home was quite small, but the house and homestead was clean and neat. The door was very interesting, especially how it is closed with pieces of wood tied to it..

malawi architecture

A thatch fence that uses branches as supports.

Mud wall had a termite problem so the owner replaced that section of wall and added a piece of plastic for protection.

malawi architecture
malawi architecture

The blue soil is very unique and the chief of this area mandated that all homes need to be plastered with this soil.

Home is constructed with burnt brick and has a small front verandah.

Close up of grainery.

Door made out of reeds.

malawi architecture
malawi architecture

Thatch is connected using strips of mosqituo nets.

Thatch is being placed on the roof structure.

Reed door uses wood branches to close.

malawi architecture

Burnt bricks being used to construct a wall.

malawi architecture

A kiln that has finished burning and broken down to utilize the bricks.

Planters hanging from roof for decoration.

malawi architecture
malawi architecture
malawi architecture

Rectangular kitchen completely enclosed.

Roof is supported by main pole which rests on the wall.

Homestead is defined by trees and hedges.

malawi architecture
malawi architecture

Plastic is tied to bamboo poles using sisal.

Plastic is being applied to roof structure.

malawi architecture
malawi architecture

Ends of gum poles will be sawn off.

Gum poles spaced out on roof.

Gum poles being nailed to main ridge pole.

malawi architecture

This very large grainery was constructed in one week.

Paintings on the side of the buildings.

Wood support poles are not always straight.

malawi architecture
malawi architecture

Roof structure for grainery waiting for thatch.

Windows were created this way so that when it can be afforded. knocked out easily and frame added.

Man showing the wooden form used to make the walls.

The pit where soil for the formwork was taken from.

malawi architecture
malawi architecture

A large amount of wood is needed to burn bricks. There is a major deforestation problem in Malawi.

After mud is compressed into forms it is laid out to dry a bit before it is stacked into kilns.

Download all the pictures from Mchinji district on my Flickr gallery.