House in Kilifi
Kilifi, Kenya

Year: 2013
Client: Private, Canada
Area: 700 m2
Team: Marcos Velasco, Paloma Domínguez
Status: Tender Action

Over the past years, Urko Sanchez Architects has become renowned for its expression of and expertise in adapting traditional Swahili architecture for the 21st-century client.

For this particular home, we studied the plot carefully, identifying three mature trees and deciding to develop the residence around them. The central idea was to make rooms that would have both indoor and outdoor space, blurring those lines so that there was no sense of limitation in the living, eating and sleeping areas. Courtyards of different sizes and configurations came to life; the family could move freely from covered, protected areas into the open air without really noticing.

The different volumes of different heights of construction elements created a general feeling of movement and openness throughout; we played a lot with shade and light to contrast around these “volumes”. The entire ground floor consists primarily of coral stone, with makuti’s terraces on the next level, featuring existing vegetation. In all, this is a harmonic house which both references Swahili architecture’s traditional shapes and forms while simultaneously adapting to contemporary needs.