Swahili Traditions Blend Harmoniously with Art Deco in Kenya | Home Design Find

Home Design Find

No Comments »

Swahili Traditions Blend Harmoniously with Art Deco in Kenya


140 architecture

A traditional Swahili house is scattered along a natural clearing in the coastal forest of Lamu in Kenya by Urko Sanchez Architects.

515 architecture

The client, Fernando Torres, wanted a house that would be in contact with nature.

He had a passion for architecture, and for Swahili traditional construction.

716 architecture

He needed a home that could host family gatherings but feel equally comfortable when he was alone.

216 architecture

The result, an outdoor pavillion on on sandy ground, reflects the client’s love of Swahili traditional construction and craftsmanship, as well as his enjoyment of outdoor living close to nature.

414 architecture

He wanted to preserve the forest as much as possible, so the house winds along within in a small natural clearing.

20 architecture

A series of curved exterior planters that extend inwards to become the smooth and cool concrete floor repeat the curved footprint of the outdoor “house”.

912 architecture

Cool breezes supply natural ventilation.

Construction had a low impact because only local materials were used.

173 architecture

The high arch of the traditional makuti roof effectively keeps out the bright sunlight and is also a good thermal insulator.

191 architecture

In Swahilli architecture this kind of makuti roof is used as a separate structure over the roof of the house or detached as a temporary construction.

815 architecture

Electricity to run the fans and lights is supplied by a solar power system out of sight.

1013 architecture

Rustic and lovely hand-shaped concrete sinks define the inside bathroom, but it is far from rudimentary.

Dignified Art Deco details like the lighting and the plaster decorations on the wall seem oddly fitting.

1212 architecture

Outside the shower room an al fresco bathtub in the same hand-shaped blond coral stone concrete makes bathing a natural delight in the midst of the forest clearing, for the grandchildren, or for Fernando when he is alone.

1116 architecture

Another outdoor bathroom offers a rustic privacy for visiting family members

1310 architecture

A sense of Kenya’s colonial past infuses the architecture.

Local craftsmen were used to create all of the intricate handiwork.

146 architecture

There is a seriousness to the incongruity of placing chandeliers in such a rustic natural setting.

154 architecture

The house could easily seem incongruous, with two such contrasting styles; urbane Art Deco played against the rustic Swahili.

182 architecture

Yet there’s nothing self consciously whimsical about the mixture of the highly civilized and the rustic traditions of Swahili construction.

It works.

You can receive our articles for free in your email inbox or subscribe to our RSS feed. Just enter your email below for the email subscription:

| Buy | Print

Leave a Comment