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Rukwaro RW. Kenyan maasai architecture in a changing culture .; 1997. Abstract

The Kenyan Maasai traditional built form in Kajiado District is changing. It is being replaced by the newly developed homesteads and houses which are inadequately planned, designed and lacking in symbolism. The latter are inconsistent with social arrangements and cultural needs of the contemporary Maasai lifestyle. It was the hypothesis of this study that the culture of the Maasai influences the architecture of their built forms. Multiple research tools were used in the collection of data. These included Observation, Focus Group Discussion, Questionnaires and Interviews. Among the techniques used in analysing the data are the chi-square statistics and qualitative analytical procedures based on the material collected through cluster sampling of 92 homesteads which were presented graphically. It is clear that the architectural conditions of Maasai buildings are a result of culture change variables identified as occupation, religion, rituals, education, family set-up and land tenure which have consistently evolved cultural values such as social status, independence, privacy and sedentary lifestyle. The study concludes that, in view of the changed culture of the maasai, the new built form is satifactory in the incorporating the emerging architectural design concepts such as nuclear family house, linearity, divisibility and permanence in response to emerging spaces and artifacts. These concepts symbolise the changing Maasai culture in the built form.

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