These materials are combined with traditional housing construction techniques in order to produce low-cost housing units. Houses built with the three materials listed above are not readily acceptable as standards for people who want Western-style homes. However, they provide a compromise based on availability of resources and financial considerations. The more Nigerian housing reflects Western influences, the more dependent the construction industry is on imported materials.
The construction of traditional homes in Nigeria requires a foundation made of hardened mud (laterite). The lateritic soil also is used with various additives for the construction of the walls. In some southern villages, the use of bamboo in wall construction is a common phenomenon. The roof construction in the case of traditional homes involves the use of palm fronds. The finished thatched roofs may be conical or slightly slanted. The interior of the houses is usually plastered in order to give it a finished look. The exterior may be plastered. If the exterior is plastered, it is usually accomplished with cement mixed with soft sand.
The influx of British architecture can be seen in the use of cinder blocks, lumber, and metal in the construction of modern houses. Figures 13.18 through 13.21 show the building stages of modern housing and how they fit into the overall community. Most Nigerians who can afford housing units prefer bungalows or storied buildings constructed with cinder blocks, iron, and steel or other imported materials that make them durable. Mixed land use is common in all Nigerian towns and cities.
The urban development patterns and trends in Nigeria have been greatly influenced by the British rule. The extraction of the natural resources and the establishment of British indirect rule government have greatly influenced the way people build their homes, the architectural style, and the landscaping practices. In order to harness the resources of the country and rule, the British planning and architecture were brought to coexist with and, in some cases, to replace existing planning and architectural ideas of Nigeria. The complexity of the development trend is seen in the mixture of styles.
It is obvious from the above discussion that there is a wide variety of housing types in Nigeria because of the colonial past of the country. The housing types include bungalows, duplexes, single-story family houses, and multi-story apartments as depicted in several of the figures in this chapter. These houses vary in quality and are influenced by the economy, taste, and customs of Nigerians. Although the modern houses have carports, porches, terraces, halls, living areas and lounges, dining areas, kitchens, bedrooms, and bathrooms, the houses are constructed