Though mud is widely available building material and in use since pre-historic days, it is difficult now-a-days to find pure earth structures. You find them mostly in Asia and Africa and that too as heritage structures. Though mud is the most sustainable building material, it is hardly used in modern constructions thanks to widespread invasion of concrete material which is considered to be far superior than mud as building material. Also, lack of suitable technology to use mud as building material may be another reason for the mud to lose its pivotal position as building material. However, there are some mud structures in the world built hundreds of years ago standing tall even today as a testimonial to erstwhile artisans’ skills as well as mud as a building material. Do you know which is the largest mud structure in the world?
World’s largest mud structure is in Africa and was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988. Further, it is built in Sudano-Sahelian architectural style. Yes, it is the Djenné located in the city of Djenné, Mali, on the flood plain of the Bani River. The first mosque on the site was built around the 13th century, but the current structure dates from 1907.
In 1906, the French administration in the town arranged for the original mosque to be rebuilt and at the same time for a school to be constructed on the site of Seku Amadu’s mosque. The rebuilding was completed in 1907 using forced labour. There has been debate as to what extent the design of the rebuilt mosque was subject to French influence.