Inspired by traditional Swahili patterns and driven by sustainability, Urko Sanchez Architects designed an apartment block that faces the sea and features large patio houses.
The project by Urko Sanchez Architects consists in fourteen apartments in Tudor Creek waterfront, on the east coast of Mombasa, Kenya. Characterized by a moucharabiah structural shell, it searches for privacy and optimized natural ventilation and light. The apartments benefit from the experience of the outdoor living, contact with nature and the integration of the surroundings into each private home.
The apartment building is surrounded by lush vegetation and a serene neighbourhood. The architects worked closely with the client to create a building with minimal environmental impact, by adapting it to the land’s natural slope, and by using local materials and know-how. The design shows its attachment to Mombasa’s history by borrowing inspiration from the rich traditions of Swahili design. The plot’s slope and its narrow shape guided the design to minimize the building’s impact. The steep drop towards the creek, on the lower part of the plot, was saved with three distinct and unique patio houses, stepped one into the other.
The development was careful to leave the mangroves and other trees intact on site. In addition, natural, passive ventilation was a guiding theme in the project design. In the apartments, cross ventilation is possible from the sea, through the shaded terraces, to the interiors, via the integrated wooden lattices and through the surrounding envelope. The mucharabiah skin following a study of different traditional patterns. It serves for the privacy in relation to the surroundings, and for the filtered, natural light for the houses. Rain water collection was provided, together with a bio-digester for treating used waters before releasing them into nature, in the absence of sufficient connection to the sewage system.
Tudor Apartments, Mombasa, Kenya
Program: apartment building
Architects: Urko Sanchez Architects
Design team: Urko Sanchez, Estrella de Andrés, Marcos Velasco, Ahmed Shamuti
Structural and mechanical engineering: Mecanismo (Spain), Interphase (Kenya)
Area: 4,000 sqm