Lightweight, simply installed and economical, corrugated steel sheets are maybe the most widespread building material on the planet. First patented in 1829 (1), it proved to be light, strong, corrosion-resistant (2), and easily transported, and particularly lent itself to prefabricated structures and improvisation by semi-skilled workers.
Its use in Melkadida, as well as in thousands of other rural areas across African countries are nowadays related to economic status. Its lack of maintenance has a lot to do with this fact.
The way in which doors and windows are designed using this material in the shops in Melkadida is especially striking. Instead of setting the axis of rotation vertically (more difficult to execute and where hinges would be necessary), the axis is executed on the lintel. When the doors and windows are opened, they are anchored to the porch cover and, thanks to the constant temperature in the area, they are left open all day.
The frames and the structure of the doors and windows are made of eucalyptus branches. Sheet metal is installed using nails and a hammer. Due to its rigidity, it helps to brace the structural frame.
In buildings of higher economic status, decorative cutouts are made in the eaves of the roof.
Also striking are the cheerful patterns and colors of the veneers (vegetable prints, imitations of brickwork, etc.) that are reminiscent of the prints of traditional fabrics.