Umma House
Lamu Island, Kenya

Year: 2006
Client: Private,  Spain
Area: 415 m2
Status: Completed
Photos: Alberto Heras, Urko Sanchez Architects

The challenge here was incorporating ancient walls into a modernized, Swahili-style residence so that it possessed both charm and comfort.

We wanted to give the feeling of what it’s really like to live within an ancient, traditional society. Integrating the house into its surroundings, we created a courtyard and plunge pool. We designed the rooms not in the way Swahilis would have used the house (e.g., bathrooms within bedrooms). In addition, Umma House faces west, so it was very important to protect it from the intensity of island heat, hence the openness of its construction.