So much research has gone into the connection between mental and physical health in relation to greenery within the built environment. Experiencing nature through its green outdoor spaces has been linked to reduced heart and respiratory diseases, higher happiness levels and stronger societal bonds. However, living in urban areas nowadays limits the number of green spaces one can have physical or even visual access to. Our living conditions have turned inwards, such that most of our activities are carried out indoors, with little regard to the outdoors. To this end, the large windows we typically find in contemporary buildings are not only for daylighting and ventilation, but also for maintaining a visual connection to the outdoors. However, the positive benefits to be gained from looking outside through a window depend on the nature of the built environment and whether the outdoors are worth gazing at.
Most traditional African homes had one vestibule entrance and tiny openings as windows. This is not to say that there was nothing worth looking at from the vantage point of an interior space. Rather, as people already spent most of the day outside, there was little need for expansive windows. Openings were usually sparse, tiny and strategically located to allow just the right amount of light in, keep the dust outside and allow the expulsion of hot air from interior spaces.
See some examples below of traditional openings on African buildings: