Studio: Urko Sanchez Architects
Project: Swahili gem
Location: Mombasa, Kenya
Category: Mixed Use & Residential Buildings
Credit: Javier Callejas
The project consists in 14 apartments in Tudor Creek, Mombasa. Characterized by a moucharabiah structural shell, it is distinct with its search for privacy and optimized natural ventilation and light.
Swahili Gem is committed to harmonizing Mombasa’s past, present and future. Its innovative architecture shows its attachment to Mombasa’s history by borrowing inspiration from the rich traditions of Swahili design.
We worked closely with the client to create a building with minimal environmental impact, by adapting to the land’s natural slope, and by using locally available materials and know-how.
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. Moreover, vegetation is integrated in the patios and on the terraces, offering freshness and greenery.
We designed the mucharabiah skin following a study of traditional patterns. It serves for the privacy in relation to the surroundings, and for the filtered, natural light. This skin wraps itself around the apartments block, leaving its Northern façade free, facing the sea. The skin was rendered entirely structural, a novelty to Kenya, it was possible thanks to local and international engineers working hand by hand together with the steel workers on-site who managed flawless bar bending work without access to any technology.