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Freetown, Sierra Leone

By Group 4 - Africa, Su CHEN and Yi ZHANG
by

Su Chen

on 28 May 2013

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Transcript of Freetown, Sierra Leone

General Information
Freetown is the capital and largest city of Sierra Leone which is located in the western area of Africa. It is a major port city in the Atlantic Ocean and is founded in March 11, 1792 by the freed African-American slaves. Freetown is Sierra Leone's major urban, economic, financial, cultural, educational and political center. It is approximately 357 km2 large. Nolli Map The Mosque Freetown has a tropical climate with a rainy season from May through to October; the balance of the year represents the dry season. Temperature extremes in Freetown are from 21 degrees Celsius to 31 degrees Celsius all year. Climate Demographic The population of Freetown is approximately million and is ethnically, culturally and religiously diverse among Muslims and Christians. As in virtually all parts of Sierra Leone, the Krio language is by far the most widely spoken language in the city. The Krio cabinet is also a significant housing style.
Freetown is a harbour city and its gridiron is oriented in consideration of the natural coastline. And most of the buildings are oriented 45 degrees to North to achieve the optimal shading effects. The urban fabric, street patterns and building typology are significantly influenced by the physical, political and historical factors. Read/analyse the city Historical Map The historical impacts are key issues that shaped the city. There are basically three major periods along Sierra Leone's timeline, the establishment (1792), the colonial period (over 150 years) and the Civil War period (about 11 years). The Freetown is established by Granville Sharp, Thomas Clarkson and William Wilberforce who bought the territory as refuge for the freed African-American slaves. The freed slaves are often referred to as 'Krio' or returnees (Aricans coming back from British, America and Canada). Some of them helped to fight against the British during the American Civil War and thus won freedom for themselves. There are many commercial buildings (banks, retails, etc.) in this area of Freetown as it is the commercial and cultural centre. Numerous low-height residential buildings sit in the CBD of the city, showing that Freetown is still undeveloped. Grey blocks represents for residential area in the selected area. There are also a few administrative elements, for instance, the government wharf and the paliament building cluster. As to the religious elements, the Cathedrals and Mosques coexist with each other. This is because the city is home to a large population of all of the country’s ethnic groups, with no single ethic group forming a majority. Furthermore, there are few public service centers, such as post office and superior court, which are sitting around at cotton tree and the CBD of city. Besides, there is only one green space (the Victorial Park) within this area as it is relatively the most developed zone in the country. Morphology analysis Urban Section The urban section shows the different height and relationship between Sam Bangura Building (about 64 meters' high) and others. Future housing of Freetown Reference 220 Years of Freetown Urban Planning Overview
The Freetown is divided into three regions: East End Freetown, Central Freetown, and West End Freetown. The East End of Freetown is the major residential area and generally the poorest part of the city. The Central Freetown contains the most of the tallest and administrative buildings. It is the cultural, economic and political centre of Freetown and also the oldest region. Our site is located close to the coastline of Central Freetown, featuring a few religious and historical buildings and significant landmarks . As to the entertainment zone, most of the city's luxury hotels, a few casinos, and the Lumley beach are in the west end of the city. Architecture 2012, Freetown Sierra Leone, Housing services, viewed 12 April2013,<http://www.whatarchitecture.com/project.php?id=78>.
Freetown,Sierra Leone climate graph, digital image, viewed 13 April 2013,<http://www.climatemps.com/graph/freetown-sierra leone_files/image001.gif>.
Guardian News and Media 2013, Freetown cabins recall birth of colony, Guardian News and Media Limited, viewed 12 April 2013, <http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/gallery/2012/may/03/freetown-sierra-leone-architecture-pictures>
Miguel Barrientos 2013, Sierra Leone Demographics Profile, Index Mundi, viewed 13 April 2013,<http://www.indexmundi.com/about.html>.
NBC news 2012, Colonial-era wooden buildings decay in Sierra Leone, PhotoBlog,viewed 15 April2013,<http://photoblog.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/05/03/11523155-colonial-era-wooden-buildings-decay-in-sierra-leone?lite>.
PEJE-West Coffee Farmers Co-operative 2011, A brief history of Sierra Leone, Lion Mountain Coffee, viewed 10 April 2013, <http://www.lionmountaincoffee.com/>
Sierra Leone National Museum 2010, Sierra Leone Heritage, collections, viewed 10 April 2013,<http://www.sierraleoneheritage.org/CI/#header>.
Tumblr 2012, Freetown, Tagged, viewed 13 April 2013, < http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/freetown>.
Truthasaur 2013, Sierre Leone Africa, Civil War, viewed 14 April 2013,<http://www.truthasaur.com/world/sierra_leone_africa.html>.
Wikipedia 2010, Freetown, the free encyclopedia, viewed 2 April 2013,<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freetown>. Greater multi-disciplinary, particularly anthropological, involvement;
Embrace African scholarship;
Creativity to unlock convention St George Cathedral (1847)- the first stone church to be built in Africa the Cotton Tree - residents claim it is old enough to have witnessed the arrival of the Freed African-American slaves in the late 1792. They used to pray and meet up at this point. It is one of the most significant landmarks and memorials in this country. It symbolizes freedom, peace and hope. Old Wharf steps - The Old Wharf Steps lead up from the Government Wharf. The stones were set in 1818. Many of the freed African-American slaves set foot on this land to start a new life by climbing these steps.
The Old Wharf steps form a significant symbolic edge that lead to a bright future. However, the steps decay with time passing by, and the offspring of the initial arrivals have never seen the affluence of the land. Painted weatherboard covers the facade of a board house. The traditional dwelling are known as 'bode ose' in the Krio creole. The influences of the first two periods are obvious. The 'Krio' housing style is a symbol of Sierra Leone's past. Scattered across Freetown stand aging wooden houses, some of which look more like they belong to the east coast of 18th century America than in West African cities. From Professor Mirko's lecture notes, we learned that buildings from a colonial period are mostly replicating models from their home countries. The 'Krio' style board house could be seen as a reconstruction of the cabin-like structures built on the American eastern seaboard. Some of the wooden planks were once used as ballast in ships while the three-foot base layer was made from the porous local stone . It helped anchor the house down in consideration of Sierra Leone's wet season under the tropical climate. The more elaborate board house was influenced by the Jamaican Maroons from West India. The slight difference lies in the latticework covering the stairway. The previous British colonial administration building nestled behind trees replicated a more elaborate British style. It stands on stilts and covered by latticework.

Although the board houses were products of colonialism, they were also nurtured by the vernacular culture. One clue is that some of the board houses were painted green, white or blue, the national colours of Sierra Leone. Freetown's urbanism and buildings seem to illustrate the varied styles the freed African-Amrican slaves (returnees) used to build and inhabit Africa. They brought about not only urban experiences but also construction techniques. As the board houses are more than 100 years old, they are in very bad and fragile conditions. Nowadays, they are often covered in corrugated metal sheets as protection layer. However, the decay of the board houses was accelerated by war. The city was heavily destroyed by the 11-year Civil War. Numerous important buildings and landmarks were not survived from the disaster. The post-war reconstrucion made the traditional board houses and streets even more shabby. The city was torn apart by war, however, it will be reunited by the spirits left behind by the first adventurers, who bravely set foot on this land fighting for peace, freedom and hope. Establishment -
Urban built map in 1794 Colonial Period -
Urban built map in 1947 After Civil War -
Urban built map in 2013 Freetown underwent three major periods of time, the establishment (1792), the colonial (over 150 years) and the Civil War (about 11 years). The city was firstly established close to the coastline and gradually expanded to South. The Cotton tree has existed since the establishment of Freetown. Age structure
0-14 years: 41.9%
15-24 years: 19.2%
25-54 years: 31.2%
55-64 years: 4.1%
65 years and over: 3.7% (2012 est.)
Population growth rate
2.277% (2012 est.)
Religious
Muslim 60%, Christian 10%, indigenous beliefs 30%
Literacy
total population: 35.1%
male: 46.9%
female: 24.4% (2004 est.) Fu nctional analysis Fig. 5 shows that majority of buildings (black blocks) in the selected area are approximately 2-3 floors height, due to Sierra Leone’s poverty, and there are generally commercial and residential buildings. The highest building is Sam Bangura Building (with red outline) which is for commercial purpose (about 64 meters' high). The pink blocks represent the mid rise buildings (about 8 to 13 meters' high). The building type of Freetown is simple and flat. Street Section The Fig. 15 shows the Walpole street in Freetown. The cotton tree shown in this drawing is over 30 meters' high and is a major landmark. Compared with that, the buildings around it are very low. The street structures community, displaying the working of the city and a backdrop for community. From the design of layout of street, we can see that Freetown is an organic city, and the landscape of street and open space are not so well organized. Street section It shows the Sam Bangura Building, which is the highest building all over the country. It is 64 meters' high, out of scale with the nearby neighborhood. It shows that Cotton Tree is a central place and landmark in the city. The layout of cotton tree and street were like a grouped square, which means where a series of space units are connected in an articulated sequence. Street is a connecting tool, which helps to link the whole Freetown together, at the same time, forming the layout of Freetown. The drawing indicates the different height and relationship between Cotton Tree and rest of buildings on Walpole Street. The Gothic style church (on the right) resembles the St Pancras Church in London. It is a classic cruciform church with a courtyard garden. Its foundation stone, Bell Tower and Chapter House were gradually added to the main church over years, as most of the Gothic Churches were not completed in one go. It witnesses the evolvement of the city and survived from the Civil War. Street type The image indicates that one of the main street types in Freetown is 'commercial street tower' typology, which is named Siaka Stevens Street. Mainly buildings on the street are commercial buildings. However these commercial buildings are only 2 to 4 floors height, due to Sierra Leone's privation and underdevelopment. There is a huge universe of possibilities of how the housing in Freetown will evolve in the future. The Bla-Bla Architects proposed one possibility which made European housing model Africanized.
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