Discovering people’s attitudes towards mud as a building material

Project Title: Social Acceptance of Mud as a Building Material

Location: Kwaso Deduako, Ghana

Author: Rose-ann Mishio

Typical House, Social Acceptance of Mud as a Building Material – Rose-ann Mishio

In Ghana, mud, which is a locally available material and can be easily re-used or recycled, has over the years seen a tremendous decline in its use for residential building construction, and is by the year becoming less popular. In 2005 for instance, the Ghana statistical service reported that 50% of houses in Ghana used mud as the main construction material for walls. In 2008, it was further indicated in the Ghana Living standards report that the predominant wall construction material used was cement/sandcrete block, taking up 75.7%. Mud and mud brick construction on the other hand was recorded at 18.5% – a very drastic reduction of mud in the construction field.

The greatest barrier preventing the increased use and innovation of mud is the perception that it is a primitive material and mud architecture is ‘backward’. – Rose-ann Mishio, Social Acceptance of Mud as a Building Material (2016)

This research was conducted using a combination of closed and open-ended questionnaires, group interviews with the inhabitants of the community (Kwaso Deduako), field observations, recorded literature, and interviews with building professionals, building contractors, engineers and foreign and local architects.  The main aim was to explore the non-technical aspect of the use of mud in residential buildings in Ghana, focusing on the social acceptance of the building material rather than the construction techniques used in its application. The research also studied the changing trend in the preference of materials, the level of acceptability of mud as a building material within the various income classes in the community and the willingness to use it in future projects.