Institute of Nomadic Architecture

A record of the living architectural heritage of nomadic people.

Join us on an exciting journey into little known parts of the world to explore the architectures, crafts and traditions of indigenous nomadic people. We have spent fifteen years travelling to many countries, from Ethiopia to Siberia, from Tibet to Iran. Everywhere we go we take detailed records of the material cultures of these unique people almost all of whom are on the edge of settling and losing their nomadic traditions.

These architectures are part of our global heritage and have been kept in safe hands for hundreds of generations. Nomad Architecture is a rich source of information on the traditional architecture of nomadic peoples. We have been researching nomadic architecture for the last fifteen years and have over 40,000 images and 500 hours of video clips, as well as detailed notes from all around the world. 

These images are held in our private collection and are available to purchase by anyone interested in using them in their publications. Please do ask before you take!

Please consider supporting our work using the Paypal and Pateron links below.

Berber Tents in Morocco

Berber Tents, recorded in Morocco in 2015

Our Work

Most of the buildings you will find on this site have not previously been recorded in any significant detail. We try to record as much as possible including the physical structures and resources used, the processes of making and moving, and where possible the ways in which the tents are used and the cultural values the occupants place on the different areas within and around their homes.

This is a complex process and requires the support of the communities with whom we work. Frequently we will arrange for a group to build us a structure from scratch as this offers important insights into the patterns of knowledge and the skill sets present within the community. We try to be with them always at a time when they will naturally migrate so we can see how things are dismantled and reassembled, and through these observations we talk to them about how and why things are done in a certain way. This often takes several weeks as we explore issues such as gender, marriage and other rituals of place that are embedded into the architectures. Through this we can start to record the way in which the dwelling is occupied, along with any cultural values such as sacred spaces and the places for different family members and guests.

Finally, we try to assess the recent developments that have taken place in the design of the building, whether by assessing the introduction of new materials or through the narrative of older occupants. All traditional architectures evolve over time, but the rate of change taking place at the moment is more rapid than ever before, and this brings an urgent need to record as many structures as we can before the influences of modern life change these remarkable buildings forever.

Check our gallery page for a small selection of the projects we have been involved with.

Hazabe Hut

Hadzabe Hut, recorded in Tanzania in 2012

Ethical Approach

The institute is run by the conservation accredited architect Gordon Clarke, Dip Arch, RIBA. CA. who is an honorary research fellow within the Anthropology Department of the University of Exeter, U.K. We have links to a number of other universities both in the UK and abroad.
We work to the highest ethical standards and all our projects are run on a collaborative and equal basis with our local communities.

Hamer Conical Huts
Southern Ethiopia

Horse-Drawn Travellers
Britain - ongoing project

Support Our Work

Please consider making a donation to help us to support this important work


c/o Gordon Clarke
Sigford Hall,
Devon TQ12 6LD