House Form and Social Norms Spatial Analysis of Domestic Architecture in Wad-Nubbawi, Sudan
Doktorsavhandling, 2000

The house is an artefact of socio-cultural events and the aim of this dissertation is to acquire knowledge relevant for future architecture. The study investigates the domestic lifestyle, use and spatial pattern of houses in a traditional urban context in Sudan. Empirical data are obtained by an ethnographical investigation based on questionnaires, interviews, photographic registrations and architectural measurements of the floor plans. It covers 73 households in the neighbourhood of Wad-Nubbawi, Omdurman. A topological method, Space Syntax, is adopted to analyse a stratified sample of residences containing 29 households. The thesis consists of three parts. Part one presents the site, the field survey and the observations of life style and labelling of spaces. Part two introduces the analytical method where some modifications are induced due to social codes of the Arab Muslim culture. Part three analyses the socio-spatial structure of the houses syntactically. It is studied case-by-case, by gender occupations in terms of user zones and by certain functionally labelled spaces. This study reveals general aspects to gain comprehensive understanding, rather than statistical knowledge, of the spatial configuration of homes.. It also contributes to how the topological method can be adapted. Findings concerning the relation between house form and social norms ought to be considered by architects and other professionals in their housing design and by authorities when designing guidelines. This new approach can, or even should, be extended to other areas, cultures and times in order to learn more about architecture through architecture.

traditional building


domestic houses

space syntax



Arab-Muslim culture

life style


extended family



Eman Abdelrahman Farah

Institutionen för stadsbyggnad





Doktorsavhandlingar vid Chalmers tekniska högskola. Ny serie: 1629

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