Old and modern construction materials in Yemen: the effect in building construction in Sana'a.

Author:Al_Kahtani, Issa A. M.


Old Sana'a can be considered as a record expressing the real story of the human civilization and development in Yemen. A Yemen's architecture styles of construction are special and unique. Yemen's early history is very vague. It just begun at the beginning of century BC until 8 or 9 with Ceiba 1800, with an emergence of specific historical integrity of the information. In 600 BC around 7 century, the royal rulers are replaced. At that time, Sana'a the capital was moved to the eastern part near Marib. Sana'a was reselected to be the new capital of the Republic of Yemen in 1962 finishing an eight years of civil war. The promulgation of the constitution and the establishment of the new government of the Republic of Yemen are conducted at 1970, which represent the new political history of the capital. However, from an engineering viewpoint, the materials used in the development of Sana'a building throughout the history are of main interests. At the last century, stone building is the most common type used and still used until now in regular building in Sana'a city. Such material necessitates certain style in building. The effect of building's material on the architecture style of Sana'a city and alternative available are of mainly interest. Using new building material other than stone in house building has an effect on the architecture style, economy and time consuming.(1) The use of newly building materials is needed to accompany the development.(2) The using of newly developed materials in building construction is highly recommended, which is supposed to develop the architecture styles.(3) The present work aims to investigate the main building materials used in building in Sana'a, the sources available for the new material, effects of new material usage on building development; the necessary steps suggested which is required to support the new development process.

Building construction materials in Yemen: Since, architectural models are depend on several types of material, the stone, mud, straw with soil and wood represent the traditional types of material used in ancient Sana'a, Fig. 1, which have properties stated as:



  1. The rocks (stone) usually used to form the traditional shape of building with thick walls supporting two or three floors in maximum, Fig.1d.

  2. All types of soil mixed with straw are used to form the huts, Fig. 1c.

  3. The burn mud or firebrick is used as building materials all around the capital Sana'a, Fig. 1b.

  4. Wood called Shibam cities wood and tree trunks used for ceiling mud with straw used to form wood building, Fig. 1a

  5. The sticking plaster material used for constructing interior walls, blinds, internal and external decoration for buildings.

  6. The Shibam city's limestone material used in the walls to pick up residential soil which used as wall glazing.

  7. The gravel with adhesive material is used in dome, the pool roof, kitchen and bathrooms to prevent water seepage. In the last century, the use of newly building...

To continue reading