The history and architecture of Burkina Faso is tied to its landscape. As a landlocked country in western Africa, it occupies an extensive plateau with grassy savannas and sparse forests. More than two-thirds of the people live in rural villages, and as such, the country’s modern architecture is the product of ingenuity born from reimagining traditional building materials and techniques. A former French colony, Burkina Faso gained independence as Upper Volta in 1960. The name Burkina Faso, which means “Land of Incorruptible People,” was adopted in 1984. The capital, Ouagadougou, is in the center of the country, and most of the country’s population is at higher elevations away from the Volta river valleys. Located in the Sahel region, Burkina Faso experiences some of the world’s most radical climatic variation, from extreme drought to severe flooding. This has given way to an architecture that is responsive, adaptable, and tied to the surrounding context.
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