The main problem is the construction of an interpretative framework, intended to be a foundation for future research on the architecture of the Sudanese northern riverain region and for architectural education in Sudan. The research evolved out of issues pertinent to the area. Scant information exists on architecture of the area and there is no adequate theoretical base for research. The initial observations of the context led the author assume that there must be some reason for the frugality evident in the physical manifestations of the culture. Phenomenological interpretative research is attempted within an ecosystemic epistemology. The study pertains to postmodernist approaches in the use of language and blurring of boundaries between disciplines. An eco-systemic construct of the context is articulated to identify the milieu within which the artefact exists and how it developed within a framework of people's beliefs and social interaction systems. The term artefact is defined as any cultural agent and is not restricted to a physical object but includes ritual, social practice and linguistic agents. These are explored within their contextual settings. Space and place making are better understood by broadening conventional definitions of architecture. People, activities and networks are the basic canons of architectural place making. As pieces of a puzzle, the tangible and the intangible all address the theme of models of habitation. Traditional building practice and space use has been elevated and studied with respect to the knowledge embodied in it. Interdisciplinary interpretation is used to address the issue of how people interact with the environment and how they shape their spaces at the micro and macro levels. It has become evident that social structure, which greatly influences the configuration of built form, reflects the character of the natural environment to a large extent. Architectural expression takes on different forms through time, especially when comparing different eras with drastically different climates. Place making activities are guided by peoples’ ability to come to terms with their environment. This dissertation also studies the setting of one African interaction with Islam. Lived experience is prior to abstract reflection. Whenever we reflect intellectually on experience, we have to go back to the lived world of our experience prior to that reflection. On submitting that experience to reflection, we make it cognisant. It is acknowledged that on embarking with the study, it was not clear as to what would be achieved: An ecology as the one studied transcends a total understanding. Also, many aspects and relationships may remain concealed due to the limitations of any one analytical perspective or intellectual structuring device. This dissertation has been an attempt to partially expose what is concealed and to put it in a usable format for future researchers.
Thesis (PhD (Architecture))--University of Pretoria, 2005.