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CONTEXT AS A GENERATOR OF FORM IN CONTEMPORARY ARCHITECTURE

CONTEXTUAL CONSIDERATION IN FORM MAKING


Incorporating Natural & Cultural Characteristics in Design of Form Cases of Developments in Kenyas Natural Landscapes

KOECH N.TIROP
B02/0274/2005

B.Arch Thesis 2010/2011

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DECLARATION
I declare that this is my original work. I also confirm that to the best of my knowledge, this thesis has not been presented in this or any other University for examination or for any other purposes. This work forms part fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Bachelor of Architecture of the University of Nairobi.

Signature( Author) Koech Nicholas Tirop

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Signature( Supervisor) ......................................................................Date........................................ Arch. Prof. Robert Rukwaro Signature (Year Coordinator.................................................................Date........................................ Arch. Pami Thatti Signature...........................................................................................Date ........................................ Arch. Erastus Abonyo: Chairman, Department of Architecture & Building Sciences, School of the Built Environment.

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DEDICATION

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Acknowledgement
Special thanks to my supervisor Arch. Prof Robert Rukwaro for the commitment, input and assistance in this study. The many critics, thoughts and challenges I have received from him have brought out the best in me. I owe gratitude to my year master, Arch Pami Thatti for his guidance, lecturers and the staff at the department of architecture of the University of Nairobi for the assistance offered since first year. The ideas, time, concepts, criticism and jokes we have shared with all my classmates B. Arch VI, 2010-11 have brought the best in me. We have fought the good fight and we have conquered together and for keeping the studio culture alive; thank you. Any errors or omissions that may be contained in this document do not in any way reflect the contributions of the parties mentioned above and I would take full responsibility for the same. Special thanks also goes to Mr. Alan Donovan, Founder of African Heritage for his courtesy and assistance in the course of field research. Mr. Murray of Roberts Camp, Baringo for his assistance and information.

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INSPIRATION

every site has its own character, the challenge is to capture that character
-Robert Oshatz, Architect

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List Of Figures

Fig. 1-1 An Architectural rendering of Tatu city. A Kshs. 200 Billion project that will be located on 1000 ha of land currently occupied by coffee plantations Fig. 2-1 Ying yang simulated relationship between the built and the unbuilt. Fig 2-2 Village settlement on the escarpment in Dogon, Mali Fig 2-3 Edgar Kaufmanns Falling water, Pennsylvania, USA Fig 2-4 Borana Lodge in the Natural settingSource: Fig 2-5 The art and glamour of the Samburu womenfolk of Kenya. Fig 2-6 Material and roofing technology employed at Mara Sopa Lodge, Maasai Mara. Fig 2-7 The hillside settlements in by the Dogon people of Mali. Notice the integration of buil form to the escarpment Fig 2-8 The conference facility at Soi Safari Lodge, Baringo. Its resultant form is inspired from local architecture Fig 2-9The sketch of KICC showing the relationship of its form and vernacular architectural forms Source: Authors sketch, 2011 Fig. 2-10 Safaricom House, Nairobi 2-11 I & M Bank Building, Nairobi Fig 2-12 Loita House, Nairobi Fig. 2-13(A).Anniversary Towers (B). Ambank House Fig. 2-14 Viewpark Towers Fig. 2-15 Kemu Towers Fig.2-16 St. Paul University Chapel, Fig. 2-17 Safari Park Hotel Fig. 2-18 Florida Night Club, Nairobi Fig.2-19 The interior of Mara Sopa Lodge, showing locally available material finishes. Fig.2-20 Some of the African typologies used in the design of a tourist resort in Kenya. Fig. 2-21 The curvilinear form of the swimming pool is in congruence with the form of the resort, which borrows from the local architectural setting Fig 2-22 Maasai Lodge. Use of natural stone to integrate well with the topography. Fig 2-23 Blending with the environment. Fig 2-24 The building literally camouflages into the setting.

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Fig 2-25 Aerial view of Maasai Lodge. The building integrates with its natural context making it appear like its is part of the landscape. Fig 2-26 The building should sit in respect to the topography of the site. Fig 2-27 To ensure a sense of place a buildings programme should be synthesised with site Fig 2-29 Buildings along sloppy terrain Fig 2-30 Dogon village of Yago Doguru, Mali. The hilly terrain has caused villages to build on the escarpment, blending in. Fig 2-31 Ngwesi Lodge. Form and material use are local. Fig.2-32 The School of Art, Design and Media at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Its covered with a green roof th at blends with the environment and serves as a gathering place. The unique form of the roof elegantly touches the ground making it easy to access Fig 2-33 semi submerged architecture in harmony with nature Fig. 2-34 A view of exterior of Dipoli Student Centre. Fig. 4-1 A view of African Heritage House. Fig 4-2 & 4-3 Some of the wildlife found in the Nairobi National park. Fig. 4-4 Map showing the area covered by the Nairobi National Park Fig 4-5. Aerial photograph of African Heritage house Fig 4-6 A view of wildebeest migration from African Heritage Terrace. Fig 4-7 African Heritage House. Terraces for best views and large windows for visual continuity of spaces Fig. 4-8 Some of African built forms that inspired the architecture of African Heritage Fig 4-9 An image of a mosque made of mud in Mali. This was the main inspiration behind African heritage House Fig 4-10. African Patterns as mouldings Fig. 4-11 Construction of the mouldings Fig.4-12,(A),(B),(C),(D) Orientation and configuration for best views of the National park. Fig 4-13 Living room decor taking an African theme Fig 4-14 Interior showing the hearth. Naturally occurring stone has been used. Fig 4-15 Courtyard. Borrowing from the spatial layout of Swahili, a local architectural language Fig 4-16 Corals used in the swimming pool changing room walls Fig 4-17 Stone finishes on the swimming pool deck

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Fig 4-18 Interior showing boriti poles in the ceiling Fig 4-19 (A), (B), (C), (D), Interior treatment using local material and borrowing from local architectural languages Fig 4-20 Map showing location of Lake Fig 4-22 A signage to Roberts camp Fig 4-23 the thorn bush and acacia vegetation found in the semi arid area of Baringo. Fig 4-24 Edge of Lake Baringo.Viewing decks have been designed along the edges fronting the lake Fig 4-25. View of lake Baringo from the main entrance to Roberts House. It is one of the elements that forms the rich natural c ontext. Fig 4-26 showing the positioning of the building on the edge of the land and lake, bridging the transition from land to water Fig 4-27 The curvilinear form of Roberts house in plan (roof plan). Fig 4-28 A conference facility taking the form of local Tugen hut Fig 4-29 Artefacts used by the local Tugen community Fig 4-30 A bar at the poolside. The shape of a local Tugen hut Fig 4-31 Typical Tugen hut. A common typology in the neighbourhood. The designer borrowed a great deal from this hut; in terms of material and the form. Fig 4-32 Roof joinery Fig 4-33 Perimeter wall made out of stacked stones found locally Fig 4-34 Locally available reeds from the shores of the lake, used as blinders Fig 4-35 Location map of Falling Water Fig 4-36 Site plan showing how the building sits in context Fig 4-37 A view of Kaufmanns House Fig 4-38 elevations of Kaufmanns House Fig 4-39Location map of Otaniemi Campus Fig 4-40 Layout plan of Dipoli Student Union Building Fig.4-41 Sections of the Students Centre Fig 4-42 a model showing the spatial layout of Dipoli Fig 4-43 Ground floor plan layout Fig 4-44 First floor plan layout. Fig 4-45 Use of natural materials to blend with the character of the surrounding site. Fig 4-47.Sample of tabulations and pie chart used in data analysis

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ABSTRACT The thesis informs on the importance of contextual response and place making in todays architectural practice; contextual response being the practice of architecture that responds to the unique characteristics of its site. Context may includes, and is not limited to; neighbourhood, topography, culture of the people and even economy. For the purposes of this thesis, nature and culture were the contextual elements studied. It began with an understanding of what context means in architecture. It expound on contextual factors shaping built forms. Aspects such as environment, socio-cultural, material and technology were highlighted. In relation to this, the author borrowed greatly from concepts relating to contextualism in organic architecture as put forth by Frank Lloyd Wright, an architect that is considered to have coined the term organic architecture The author carried out an analysis on evidence of buildings that have responded well( using essentials of organic architecture as parameters of response to context) to the unique character of their respective sites. Three case studies from different natural and cultural contexts in Kenya were analysed. The thesis concluded with recommendation on the adoption of an contextual approach of practising architecture, citing its significance in ecological, cultural and social continuum.

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Table of Contents Dedication.......................................................................................................................................................(i) Declaration..... (ii) Dedication...(iii) Acknowledgements....(iv) Inspiration......(v) List of Figures....(vi) Abstract..........................................................................................................................................................(x) CHAPTER 1: 1.0 Introduction..............................................................................................................1 1.1 Introduction......2 1.2 Problem statement.2 1.3 Justification of the Study..........3 1.4 Scope & limitations ...........................................................................4 1.5 Assumption of Study.......5 1.6 Aims & Objectives.................5 1.7 Definition of terms........6 1.8 Overview of Chapters............7 CHAPTER 2: Understanding Context in Architecture....9 2.1 Introduction......9 2.2 Literature Review.............................................................................. ........ ......10 2.3 Contextual Factors in Shaping Built Form...12 2.3.1 Integration with natural setting........13 2.3.2 Enhancement of Terrain..13 2.3.3 Unification of interior -exterior space.........13 2.3.4 Material consideration.......14

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2.3.5 Total Subordination to Nature....................................................................................................................16 2.3.6 Symbolism and imagery.............................................................................................................................16 2.4. Contextual response in African Traditional Architecture..............................................................................17 2.5 Contextual response in Contemporary architecture...................................................................................... 18 3.0 CHAPTER 3: RESEARCH METHODs ..................................................................................................22 3.1 Introduction .......................................................... .......................................................................................22 3.2 Research Design ...........................................................................................................................................26 3.3 Research Situs..... .........................................................................................................................................22 3.4 Research Tools..............................................................................................................................................24 3.5 Data collection Techniques ...........................................................................................................................25 3.6 Sampling procedure......................................................................................................................................26 3.7 Data Analysis ................................................................................................................................................27 4.0 CHAPTER 4: CASE STUDIES............................................................................................................29 4.1 African Heritage House Nairobi....................................................................................................................29 4.2 Roberts House L.Baringo................................................................................................ .............................35 4.3 Falling Water................................................................................................................................................41 4.3 Dipoli Students Union Building, Helsinki............................................................................... .......................45 CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSIONS & RECOMMENDATIONS ..........................................................................56 REFERENCES .....................................................................................................................................................61 APPENDICES .....................................................................................................................................................62

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1.0 CHAPTER ONE

1.1 Introduction The research sought to highlight the concept of place making and contextual response in architecture. It anticipated a kind of architecture that conforms to the unique characteristics of its site; both on the physical aspect and the socio-cultural representation of a given place. It borrows greatly from the principles of organic architecture as put forth by Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect. Creating Places and Spaces that enrich the lives of the people who use them was the drive behind this thesis; that every building can and should engage in a dialog with the history, beliefs and needs of a particular place and time.

1.2 Problem statement Many contemporary architects have adopted a strictly scientific, rather than metaphysical, view of nature and they design structures devoid of any relationship to the landscape. The rapid growth in the building industry in Kenya as indicated by the construction boom has led to new developments not only in the urban realm but also in the rural setting. Vast developments on agricultural land is evident now. Case in point is the Tatu city,(Fig; 1.1) a residential development sitting on what was initially a coffee plantation, Thika Greens Estate is also situated on a virgin land.
Fig. 1-1 An Architectural rendering of Tatu city. A Kshs. 200 Billion project that will be located on 1000 ha of land currently occupied by coffee plantations Source: Business Daily, November 5 2010

These developments sit on a natural landscape surrounded by local people with a local culture and local architectural typologies that needed to be studied and incorporated in the design of these developments. Moreover, there

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is an anticipated growth of such developments on these virgin lands across the country as a result of creation of new counties under the new constitutional dispensation. As these developments are put up, there is little consideration on fitting the building in context. Cases of imposing buildings on land with little regard to contextual character is commonplace. Nairobi city, with its glass box buildings presents an example and has set precedence on the kind of archetypes that lack contextual roots and cultural representation of their settings. These glass boxes have been copied from a different setting with a totally different climatic and cultural characteristics and forced on Nairobi setting. 1.3 Aims and Objectives The objectives of the study were to:

Establish existing levels of contextual response of built forms in Kenya. Establish approaches that enhance contextual sensitivity in todays architectural practice. Find out if there are unique design principles that can be applied to enhance integrity of ecosystem as well as that of the built form to its site. Map out practical guidelines which when applied will ensure that new developments on virgin lands respect character of the immediate environment on all levels; socio-cultural, physical and material sense.

1.4 Significance of the study Design is not an act of caprice or chance. The form of a project is rooted on time and place. The free will to design manifests itself by limiting and evaluating approaches to form1

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At the time in which architecture is largely dominated by economics, technical possibilities and regulations, there is need to embrace an architectural approach that is integral to ecological, cultural and social aspects; a kind of architecture that responds to the unique characteristics of its site. In the wake of the problems of environmental degradation, and cultural misrepresentation in architecture, there is need for architects to play their part in reversing the trend through the practice of architectural language that preserves the unique identity of a particular site complete with its characteristics. The responsibility bestowed upon architects is to have the right attitude and approach towards nature, treating each site uniquely in their everyday design endeavours as a way of finding an alternative to the insensitive and wasteful remnants of the international glass box architecture in this era of the 21st century. The written material on organic architecture focusing on environmental conservation and effective land use, also goes a long way in providing an additional resource in the area of eco-friendly architecture.

1.5 Scope and Limitation The study is confined to the realm of architecture of country hotels, resorts and lodges in the natural and cultural setting within the different regional settings of Kenya .The choices of the specific regions under investigation was done through stratified sampling as indicated in the Research Methodology. The parameters for study included: Themes of contextual architecture and its evidence in the resultant built form studied. Planning principles resulting in capitalising on inherent site assets and opportunities. Construction materials and appropriate technology relating to context. Socio-cultural aspects of design. The investigation was of tangible nature. The intangible reactions were not delved into in detail, but were referred to where applicable, due to constraints of time, and the vast scope of study into these reactions. Principles and themes of organic architecture are limited to those put forth by Frank Lloyd Wright and those that
1. Franz Oswald Foreword Adapted from Pierre Von Meiss, From Form to Place

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relate to built form and its context. Limitations include time and financial constraints to adequately undertake the research due to location of resorts and lodges in remote areas. Some resort owners and managers were unwilling to cooperate in the course of the field study. 1.6 Assumptions of the study By capitalizing on inherent site assets and opportunities, architects and site planners can limit long-term maintenance costs and more importantly, come up with an all-inclusive aesthetically pleasant built form and fabric

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1.7 Definition of Terms

Contextualism

A design approach which derives from the believe that a new building must blend with its sorrounding in terms of form, materials, height. It is deriving character of the built form from existing features Generally the whole universe and everything not man-made that exists in it. The cosmos, the earth-bound, the topography, fauna and flora, and the climatic forces Refers to entity, integral. As originally used in architecture, organic means part-to-whole-aswhole-is-to-part.. In this study, environment, unless otherwise defined, stands for the physical natural realm encompassing topography, vegetation, climate and the ecosystem. For the purposes of this study, environment and Nature are used interchangeably. In this context, it denotes the structure of work the manner of arranging and coordinating the elements and parts of a composition so as to produce a coherent image.

Nature Organic Environment

Form

Sustainability

Defined as preserving the support of our planets environment for future generations while providing for the needs of our present society.

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1.8 Structure of the study The first chapter gives a synopsis of the topic of research; the aims and objective of the study, its scope and limitations. It elaborates on the methodology to be employed in carrying out the research. Chapter two elaborates the understanding of contextual response in architecture, establishing the contextual forces shaping built forms in architecture. It presents the reader with instances or cases of built forms within the city of Nairobi that are devoid of regional character and identity. They are referred here as glass boxes. On the other hand, buildings that are rich in regional character are also pointed out. This sets out a clear direction on the intention of the study; as an advocacy for built forms that relate to its environment. This chapter is coupled with relevant concepts and themes of contextualism highlighted in organic architecture. It explores what organic architecture can contribute to contemporary issues such as regional identity and sustainable building. Chapter three gives a systematic procedure of conducting the fieldwork component of this research; from the research design, collection of data and synthesis. Chapter Four presents the analysis of the case studies undertaken on buildings that have succeeded in concretizing the Genius loci resulting in forms that respond fully to site and site conditions which is in essence the backbone of this study. Chapter five follows a thematic path from the analysis. It focuses on the significance of spirit of place and identity through contextual design attitudes in architecture of the present, near and distant future. Topical themes such as sustainable and healthy building, user participation and cultural identity are brought into dialogue with the premises of organic architecture.

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2.0 CHAPTER TWO


UNDERSTANDING CONTEXT IN ARCHITECTURE 2.1 Introduction
Fig. 2-1 Ying yang simulated relationship between the built and the unbuilt. Source: Authors sketch ,2011

A place is anchored in a precise spot on the surface of the earth; it has its roots and its history. By building, we affix a special relationship between the earth, the sky and time. In order to become a convention, a place needs stability and recognisable physical features, or characteristics which suggest a particular socio-cultural experience. Thus the phenomenon of place consists of the tangible and intangible characters. The tangible characters are the flora and fauna in nature, whereas the intangible comprises and is not limited to feelings; a spirit or sense of belonging and identification. It is in this way that we recognise links between form, place and history. Architectural space acquires its double role by its perennial nature; its role as a witness of history, and its role as opportunity for the future.

Fig 2-23 Blending with the environment. Source: Amy Namwakira with permission

This chapter amplifies the integration of the built form with its context (Fig 2.1, 2.23). It informs, a great deal on contextual response at all levels; culturally, physically and environmentally. Man imagines in the first place, the space which surrounds him and not the physical objects which are supports of symbolic significance. All static or mechanical dispositions as well as the materialization of the spatial envelope, are only means for realizing an idea which is vaguely felt or clearly imagined in architectural creation....architecture is art when the design of space clearly takes precedence over the design of the object. Spatial intention is the living soul of architectural creation 2

2. August Schmarsow. Adapted from Pierre Von Meiss From Form to Place, pg 101.

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2.2 Literature Review The information on the subject of context was provided by vast review of both published and unpublished material. Of particular interest are the following books each with a brief overview of what it entails. Looking to nature as the source of some of the strongest and most efficient structural forms known to mankind, Eugene Tsuis Evolutionary Architecture: Nature as a Basis for Design, offers stunningly original alternatives to the uninspired cut-and-butt, post-and-beam constructions that dominate our architectural landscape today. The book uncovers the guiding principles behind his evolutionary approach to explore the many design lessons that can be learnt from nature and shares the impressive results from their application to architectural projects. In his book, Sources of Architectural Form, Gelernter . M provides a critical look at the history of Western architecture from the ancient world to the present day in his bid to unravel the origins of style in built forms. A similar attempt on the same, but in the African context , has been done by Susan Denyer in her book, African Traditional Architecture. These two authors focus on the design theorys central question of generation of architectural form. Issues of context of ecology, social and physical attributes as contributing factors in determination of form has been highlighted by Gans et.al. In their book The Organic Approach to Architecture. This has been echoed by Day Christophers book, Places of The Soul which takes the spirit of place as a generator of form. Mr. Days Writing takes the reader through ideas of space, light, structure, environment, location and intention. In addition to the above Published material, contributions from papers generated both as academic research material have provided further insight into the subject. These are, but not limited to;

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1. 2. 3. 4.

G.M. Munenes 1996 thesis report, Themes of Organic Architecture R.C. Ruttos 1997 thesis report, Location as an Approach to the Generation of Form in Architecture. Karibuis 1989 thesis report, Traditional African Architecture and its Place in Modern Context. P..N Opons 1993 thesis report, Symbolism and Built Form

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2.3 Contextual factors shaping built forms These are forces that celebrate the opportunity afforded by the natural environment and that acknowledge the constraints it poses connects time past, time future and time present. They are broadly classified as follows;

Fig 2-4 Borana Lodge in the Natural setting Source: Borana Lodge Brochure

Environmental Forces The natural environment of each location remains an enduring framework within which a form builds. A natural environment and its form taken together (Fig 2.4) tell a story of the interaction between natural processes and human purpose over time. Together they contribute to each locations unique identity .

Socio-cultural forces The customs, beliefs, arts, music (Fig 2.5) and other products of human thought of a particular group of people at a particular time has over the epochs of human history determined or greatly influenced built forms. Social organisation coupled with the order within the society in terms of belief systems to religion guided the generation of structural forms in various fields of human existence.
Fig 2-5 The art and glamour of the Samburu womenfolk of Kenya. Source: Amy Namwakira.with permission

Material and Technology Each setting is characterised by locally available material and technology employed in harnessing the materials (Fig2.6) into useful components of a built form. Traditionally, man has always made use of the materials to shelter himself. This culture has since transformed due to the pressures of modernisation. new materials came with new technologies. The development of the machine aesthetics, internal style, new building requirements, air conditioning and so on has revolutionalized the building industry. However, this revolution has been taken too far. The stakeholders in the built environment have embraced the new system with its downside too! The international style, for instance, has been propagated wholly without consideration of site characteristics. Imposing such buildings on site, makes the site lose its identity.

Fig 2-6 Material and roofing technology employed at Mara Sopa Lodge, Maasai Mara.

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Architectural forms should be able to display in an appropriate way the manner in which its forms inter-relate with its immediate context. Some architects of modern movement era must be credited for playing a significant role in the issue of contextual approach to design in architecture. The works of Alvar Aalto, Hassan Fathy and Frank Lloyd Wright show a clear and successful attempt at contextual attitude to design. A closer look at the works of Frank Lloyd Wright shows his advocacy for contextual response in design. His approach which he aptly termed, Organic Architecture laid out themes or principles that are the very basis of a site responsive kind of Architecture, basing on the factors mentioned above. 2.3.1 Integration with Nature The ground ultimately supports all architectural construction. The built form can merge with the ground plane, sit on it or be elevated from it. From early times , man has sought to build in continuum with the natural environment and one of the most common reactions has been to integrate the built form with the lines of the terrain, following the profile of the topography in plan and in section. The theme of integration with nature is not a new phenomenon as evidence of it can be traced to ancient times, and often it has become part of the culture of some societies. For example, the Dogon people of Mali have traditional settlements are integrated into the hills, (Fig 2.2) following the profile of the land. More recent work of architecture still show this attitude towards the topography. Jorn Utzon, in the tradition of Scandinavian architecture ( revealed in the works of Abuar Aalto, Reima Pietlila and other), seeks to follow the contours most notably in the housing development to Elsinor, Denmark. (Fig 2.24)
Fig 2-24 The building literally camouflages into the setting.

Fig 2-2 Village settlement on the escarpment in Dogon, Mali Source: www.arcspace.com

The most renown works of architecture in the western world that expresses integration of building and natural setting is Kaufmanns House,(Fig 2.3) also known as Falling water designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The building cascades towards the water fall keeping close to the profile of its rocky surrounding.

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Fig 2-26 The building should sit in respect to the topography of the site. Source: Authors collection

2.3.2 Enhancement of Terrain The word enhancement here is used very cautiously this description of the way in which man has sought to emphasize the lines of the terrain by opposing lines to those of the predominant configuration of the site, or creating tension to neutral and uninspiring natural conditions. (Fig 2.26) A clear indication of such an enhancement of the profile of the topography is the frequently cited Kaufmann House,(Fig 2.3) where the house is interwoven with the terrain in a way that emphasizes the uncomFig 2-25 Aerial view of Maasai Lodge. The building integrates with its natural mon natural irregularity and dynamism of the site. context making it appear like its is part of the landscape. Wright uses the strategy of opposition to the general Source: Maasai lodge Brochure, 2010 regularity of the terrain; using dynamic cantilevers and an emphasis on the horizontal lines through prominent cantilevers. 2.3.3 Unification of Interior and Exterior More than any other art form and architecture have an interactive relationship with nature. Man has sought to integrate built form natural surrounding focusing on the unifying of the indoor space to the outdoor space.

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Fig 2-3 Edgar Kaufmanns Falling water, Pennsylvania, USA Source: www.greatbuildings.com

The continuum with the natural setting is two-fold, either through views (Fig 2.28) and design of fenestrations, or through the inclusion of elements usually associated with the outdoors in the inner spaces of the building. In the latter type of unification of the habitable space with the vast outdoors is also of two kinds, the building of the boundary, or the building edge between the interior and the exterior so that each space blends into the other with an overlap over what would have been the building edge, and secondly the translocation of such elements of the outdoor environment as rocks, soil, water bodies (natural formed ones), and trees.

Fig 2-28 Visual continuity of indoor and outdoor spaces. Source: Authors collection

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The contemporary Kenyan examples of such attempts at unification of the built space and outdoor natural space are primarily found in the architecture for tourists; game/safari lodges and hotels. An example is the Maasai lodge. (Fig 2.22) Built into a rocky hillside, part of the common spaces, like the restaurant and lounge have hillsides exposed rock as floor and wall. The spaces were carved out of the rocky site, thus the natural rock of the site extends into the built form becoming an integral part of both the interior and the extension. A continuum with the site is achieved. 2.3.4 Materials consideration Natural materials constitute the most natural thread with which to knit man made structures to their natural settings, regional catalyst uniting the building to the place. They are the primary forms of building materials, stone, wood, earth and the plant materials and thus holds the key to integrating with nature. Man has used these natural materials from the primeval times and vernacular experience, tradition and ancient wisdom has adopted the application of this materials that are part of the ecology and the products of the climate of the site or its environment. As such natural materials are vital ingredient of regionalist architecture as well as organic architecture. The epitome of such wisdom born out of experience is the Eskimo (igloo). The Eskimos igloo ia an example of monomaterial architecture which is the resultant form of lack of variety in the available building materials and the abundance of a single material, snow and ice, which is part of the ecosystem of the Arctic region. The traditional dwellings of indigenous people in Kenya for example, have always used materials that were natural and derived from the site or near the site as earth, wattle poles and lashing, magroove poles, grass, palms, makuti and even hides of animals and dung.
Fig 2-31 Ngwesi Lodge. Form and material use are local. Source: Authors collections

Fig 2-22 Maasai Lodge. Use of natural stone to integrate well with the topography. Source: Author, 2011

Natural materials have provided a very direct link between mans desire to live in a natural environment and nature itself. (Fig 2.31) They have been used to achieve that rustic, natural appearance especially when used in the

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raw without cladding or coating either with plaster or paint. This finds the best contemporary expression in the tourist-oriented architecture. In Kenya for example, tourist hotels and lodges use natural stone ( volcanic and maji ya chumvi), gum, poles, makuti, wood shingles, timber and grass thatch to recreate a rustic, natural-looking ambience.Man achieves a symbiosis and complementarily with nature through manipulation of natural materials to build for himself dwellings and shelters that complement the topography and natural vegetation of his environment, colour and texture.
Fig.2-32 The School of Art, Design and Media at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Its covered with a green roof that blends with the environment and serves as a gathering place. The unique form of the roof elegantly touches the ground making it easy to access Source: www.arcspace.com Source: Authors collection

2.3.5 Total subordination to nature Rather than stand alone in contrast to nature, underground architecture lies in her arms. Caves may be the oldest form of dwelling, probably because where they occurred naturally, man did not have to build a dwelling for himself and simply occupied the space. According to Norburgschulz, the cave represents the first spatial element. It is a primal symbol, extending as it does, into the motherly earth from which all life arises, and for man where all life ends, entombed in earth, the grave, dust to dust. Underground buildings and submerged or semi-submerged architecture (Figs 2.32, 2.33) are of all approaches of man towards an architecture in harmony with nature, the most unobtrusive in the terrain. Man and his built form are, as it were, in total subordination to nature. The building does not sit upon the terrain but is of the terrain. Sub-terrain architecture, however, apart from appealing to the romantic aspect of the nature of mans relationship with nature, it also provides a comfortable shelter in inhospitable climates. This advantage was discovered and developed by man from ancient times, and is revered in its continued existence in the traditional and vernacular architecture of diverse troglodyte (cave dweller) communities around the world. 2.3.6 Symbolism & Imagery Nature has had a profound effect on the creative works of man, his arts, his architecture. Humans have imitated nature, learning from trees to build adobe, borrowing forms of fauna and flora for decorative motifs and the built forms themselves.

Fig 2-33 semi submerged architecture in harmony with nature

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2.4. Contextual response in African Traditional Architecture

Integration with nature In African traditional built forms, natural landscape has been adopted to accommodate a socio-economic function. Settlement patterns have been found along ridges, hills within reach of rivers, ponds, springs and so on. These inter-relationships meant that planning and structuring ensured harmony between built forms and the immediate environment.
Fig 2-8 The conference facility at Soi Safari Lodge, Baringo. Its resultant form is inspired from local architecture Source: Author, 2011

Form African tribes had a unique material culture that reflected on form and style. The resultant forms were greatly influenced by the prevailing climatic and topographic conditions. There was a close integration of technology, social organisation and environment. The predominantly circular African forms (Fig 2.8) were explained in a variety of ways.

Fig 2-9The sketch of KICC showing the relationship of its form and vernacular architectural forms Source: Authors sketch, 2011

A number of contemporary structures have been inspired by the African form too. (Fig 2.9)

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2.5 Contextual response in Contemporary architecture Design approaches and attitudes have emerged advocating varied ideas and ideals which have been deemed as contemporary and towards the right direction. For this reason, the practice of contemporary architecture has forked into several approaches in design; one that totally ignores context( international style) and one that embraces it. For the purpose of this study, the author advocates for the latter.
Fig. 2-10 Safaricom House, Nairobi Source: Author 2011

Total change approach( International style) This approach argues that traditional built form and technology has completely lost its place in the phase of imported models, materials and technology. It has the disadvantage that built forms risk losing their inherent interaction with the particular setting. The age of mechanical ventilation and lighting means that built forms can adopt artificially controlled interior climates which can perform perfectly well in any region of the climate. The approach loses the sense of place and character of a site.(Figs 2.10, 2.11, 2.12) Prototypes equipped with such technique can be imposed on any site on the planet This scenario is evident in two levels;

2-11 I & M Bank Building, Nairobi Source: Author 2011

The influx of new building materials has changed the indigenous scenario of prototypes The building types, forms and functions that have generated complex and unique forms in the west, have been directly imported and imposed in the African environment The design approach ensured that building materials and technology is imported from the country have conventional standards, techniques and methods. It takes advantage of urban planning procedures of the west. It deals with issues like sewage disposal and vehicular traffic which is new to the prevailing indigenous culture. Unfortunately, this is the kind of approach that has been largely practised in Kenya.

Fig 2-12 Loita House, Nairobi Source: Author 2011

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The Glazed International Style typology devoid of Regional Identity.

Fig. 2-13(A).Anniversary Towers (B). Ambank House Source: Author, 2011

Fig. 2-14 Viewpark Towers Source: Author, 2011

Fig. 2-15 Kemu Towers Source: Author, 2011

Integration and Regionalism Regionalism fully understands that man-made and natural forces are the basic generators of form. It is an approach to distilling the essence of place and culture through the alembic of modernism so that the architectural form of the present is a product of the past. This approach sought to amalgamate the western building style, materials and form with the indigenous African prototypes as illustrated below;

Fig.2-16 St. Paul University Chapel, Source: Author 2011

Fig. 2-17 Safari Park Hotel Source: Kenya Tourism guide 2009

Fig. 2-18 Florida Night Club, Nairobi Source: Author 2011

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Some of these contemporary built forms have a strong symbolic base too. They carry that image which show practical or emotional character. They have that quality which gives them a higher probability of a strong meaning. Decoration mainly occurs in the use of a variety of locally available building materials with varying colours, textures or shapes. (Figs 2.19, 2.20, 2.21)
Fig.2-19 The interior of Mara Sopa Lodge, showing locally available material finishes. Source: Author, 2010

Architectural form derives from countless and timeless principles of form that transcend particular designers cultures and climates2

Fig.2-20 Some of the African typologies used in the design of a tourist resort in Kenya. Source: Kenya Tourism Guide Brochure,

Fig. 2-21 The curvilinear form of the swimming pool is in congruence with the form of the resort, which borrows from the local architectural setting Source: Kenya Tourism Guide Brochure, 2009

2. Gelernter, M. Source of architectural form

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CHAPTER 3: Research Methods


3.1 Introduction The aim of this research was to study the built form and spatial layouts in relation to their natural and cultural setting . The study contains the built form and space as the dependent variables and the location or its setting as the independent variables in the selected case studies. Selection of research methods has been guided by the objectives as well as the literature review. 3.2 Research design The study adapts descriptive research whereby data is collected to test the hypotheses on the current status of the subjects. A case study approach has also been used in this research. This section will describe how the various research tools have been used; their limitations as well as their contribution to the study. The case studies were carefully selected through purposeful sampling to ensure a true representation of the region is attained. This was because the cases best represented the ideals brought forth in this thesis. 3.3 Research Situs The research situs is the actual natural setting of the case studies without any contrived setting. This is important as it offers a platform to observe activities as they occur in real life. Naturalistic observation is thus adhered to in this study. Behaviour is observed as it occurs naturally, with no control or manipulation of the subjects by the researcher. (Mugenda and Mugenda, 1999)

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3.4 Research Tools 3.4.1 Primary Data Research Tools Observation Observation method was used to record visual data on the aspects of built form and space in relation to context in the chosen case studies. A checklist of study parameters was used in selecting relevant architectural qualities and how they affect the spatial use. This involved systematic examination of the physical attributes of the site and how these attributes affected the processes of designing the resultant architectural form. Observing socio-cultural aspect will involve systematic examination of the society surrounding the built form. This method will give an insight of what the culture of the people are like, their way of life, their methods of design and construction and their associations with the built form being studied Interviews Interviews involved asking questions systematically so as to find out what peoples thoughts, feelings, beliefs, perception, and expectations are about a particular form or space. . In-depth interviews- open ended questions were also used and were conducted against a pre-coded list of established questions administered to the designers of the built forms, spatial users such as patrons and managers of the resorts. Structured interviews- Interviewees were to choose answers from alternatives provided. This was used to reinforce inferences made from observation techniques, to understand how the space users perceived their space in relation to the natural and cultural environment. Structured questionnaires were administered to the staff in these houses and visitors. They then provided their own view of a particular situation( as per the study parameters) relative to the space and form with guidance from the researcher.

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Research Design Summary

Author collecting data during fieldwork Source: Author, 2011

Interviewee taking the author through salient features of the building in study Source: Author, 2011

Table 1-2 Summary of research design employed in the study. Designed by author

Interviewee during an oral interview Source: Author, 2011

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3.4.2 Secondary Research Tools

Archives and Library research This involved the study of secondary data from the libraries, professional journals, general books, internet and study of previous works on the respective case studies. Architectural journals provided insightful knowledge of how architects have designed with different contextual characters. Library research involved intensive analysis of form and space and cultural symbolism . The data was recorded through sketches and note taking. 3.5 Data collection Techniques 3.5.1 Observation Methods The data collected during behaviour observations was recorded in the form of sketches, diagrams, photographs, notations and short notes. Sketches Sketches provided a simple representation of physical observations. They were extremely useful as they were inexpensive to generate. They also came in handy where photography was prohibited. Notations. This involved recording of behaviour in verbal and pictorial notes which demanded that a decision on what was to be described and what was to be overlooked was done on the spot. Descriptive notes provided a qualitative perception of behaviour patterns. Photographs. Photographs accurately captured and recorded the physical aspects of built forms and other information that may have been omitted during observation and thus reduced lengthy descriptions of a given phenomenon. Photographs are useful due to their imageability and illustrative quality.

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3.5.2 Interviews

Note Taking Responses from the interviewees were written down. i 3.6 Sampling Procedures Purposive sampling was adapted where relevant cases of study were handpicked owing to their relevance in the study. The cases best represented the study ideals and offered a chance for comparative analysis. 3.6.1 Sampling Frame In this study the sampling frame included the six geographical and cultural regions of Kenya. 3.6.2 Sampling Criteria Sampling for respondents: Simple random sampling was used in the selection of individuals to be interviewed in the relevant case studies. This made certain that there was a level of impartiality and un-biasness. Sampling for case studies: Purposeful sampling was used in the selection of case studies with respect to the study scope and objectives of the study. Case studies were selected with regard to their geographical location and availability of data. International case studies were chosen based on their success and their unique characteristics.

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3.7 Data analysis An inductive analysis was applied whereby; a checklist of study parameters adopted from principles of organic architecture that applies to response to context (in this case natural and cultural contexts) was drawn and case studies compared to it.

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4.0 CHAPTER FOUR

ANALYSIS OF CASE STUDIES Case studies shall be undertaken on buildings that have succeeded in concretizing the Genius loci resulting in forms that respond fully to site and site conditions which is in essence the backbone of this study.

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CASE STUDY ONE 4.1 AFRICAN HERITAGE HOUSE, NAIROBI, KENYA Project data: Location: Nairobi county, near Nairobi National Park

Client: Architect: Commencement: Completion: Built up area:

Alan Donovan David Bristow 1993 1995 About 300m2

Fig. 4-1 A view of African Heritage House. Source: Author, 2011

Introduction Designed by Alan Donovan, founder of the African Heritage galleries, the house is a combination of architectural styles from across the continent. The African Heritage House overlooking the Nairobi National Park is described by the prestigious Architectural Digest as "an architecture rising from the serene Kenyan plain like an outcropping of earth, a vision of usefulness informed by the African genius for decoration."

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Designed by American Alan Donovan, co-founder of the African Heritage Pan African Galleries, the house is a combination of the mud architectures from across Africa Historical Background of site
Fig 4-2

The House on Athi Plains Alan Donovan, an American, came to Africa over 30 years ago. He fell in love with the beauty of African Art, so much so that he co-founded the continentss first Pan African Gallery, The African Heritage. Its first site was along Kenyatta Avenue in Nairobi before it was gutted down by fire destroying important artefacts. Alan Donovan found a small house on the Athi plains, overlooking the Nairobi National Park. An idea about the site as an ideal site for African Heritage House struck him; to have a gallery showcasing African artefacts and cultural festivals right in the African wild, within the vicinity of African wildlife! (Fig 4.2, 4.3)Alan started to sketch his ideal house on the plains overlooking the National park, taking advantage of the breathtaking views. The Athi plains, with its famous Savannahs and wild game, sometimes abundant sometimes scant, was my view of Africa. Says Alan Donovan. The National park(Fig 4.4) narrows here, bordered on one side by the Athi River and on the other side, the legendary Kenya Uganda railway passes by a deep Canyon, then snakes its way along up to the hill towards Nairobi. At the end of the park lies a small townA thi River.

Fig 4-3

Fig. Some of the wildlife found in the Nairobi National park.

Fig 4-5. Aerial photograph of African Heritage house Source: GoogleEarth pictures Fig. 4-4 Map showing the area covered by the Nairobi National Park Source: Kenya Tourism Guide Booklet 2009

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Integration with nature

African Heritage house lies on the edge of a ridge overlooking the vast plains of the Athi (4.6) forming part of the Nairobi National Park. The building has been designed such that it takes advantage of the views. It has two levels of terraces(see fig. 4-7)

Fig 4-6 A view of wildebeest migration from African Heritage Terrace. Source: Alan Donovan

Fig 4-7 African Heritage House. Terraces for best views and large windows for visual continuity of spaces Source: Author, 2011

Unification of Interior & exterior spaces The designer fitted full length windows in the direction facing the National park for visual continuation of interior and exterior spaces.

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Socio-cultural context in function African Heritage house functions as a gallery that showcases African Artefacts, artwork from all over the continent. It is therefore a representation of Africa. So much has gone into design of this house as Alan Donovan puts it.... The design represents the culmination of my travels through and my fascination with mud architecture of the continent. His greatest inspiration was the grand earthen mosques in Mali. Figs 4.8, 4.9) The mosques were so grand as to be awesome, yet somehow not foreign to their place on earth. They fitted into the plan and the nature of things, and they were, long before I ever remember hearing such words as environmentally friendly adds Alan Donovan. The Designer also borrowed a great deal with the local architecture of the Swahili people along the coastal strip of East Africa. The house contains a courtyard typical in design to that of the Swahili dwelling. This is shown in the sketched plan below.

Fig. 4-8 Some of African built forms that inspired the architecture of African Heritage Source: Alan Donovan

COURTYARD

Fig 4-9 An image of a mosque made of mud in Mali. This was the main inspiration behind African heritage House Source: Alan Donovan

Fig Plan of African Heritage House showing the positioning of a courtyard., a concept borrowed from the Swahili community of Kenya Source: Alan Donovan

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Fig 4-10. African Patterns as mouldings Source: Author, 2011

Fig 4-12(A)

Fig 4-12(B)

Fig 4-12(C)
Fig.4-12,(A),(B),(C),(D) Orientation and configuration for best views of the National park. Source: Author, 2010 Fig. 4-11 Construction of the mouldings Source: Alan Donovan

Fig 4-12(D)

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Contextual Texture and Material Choice

Fig 4-13 Living room decor taking an African theme Source: Author, 2011

Fig 4-16 Corals used in the swimming pool changing room walls Source: Author, 2011

Fig 4-19(A)

Fig 4-19(B)

Fig 4-14 Interior showing the hearth. Naturally occurring stone has been used. Source: Author, 2011

Fig 4-17 Stone finishes on the swimming pool deck Source: Author, 2011

Fig 4-19(C)

Fig 4-19(D)

Fig 4-19 (A), (B), (C), (D), Interior treatment using local material and borrowing from local architectural languages Source: Author, 2011

Fig 4-18 Interior showing boriti poles in the ceiling Source: Author, 2011 Fig 4-15 Courtyard. Borrowing from the spatial layout of Swahili, a local architectural language Source: Author, 2011

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CASE STUDY TWO 4.2 ROBERTS HOUSE, LAKE BARINGO, RIFT VALLEY, KENYA Project data Location: Client: Architect: Commencement: Completion: Built up area: On the shores of Lake Baringo, Kenya Murray & Elizabeth Roberts Bill Meyerhoff 1985 1986 160m2

Fig 4 -20 Map showing location of Lake Baringo Source: Authors collection

Historical Background of site


Fig 4-21 A view of Roberts original house Source: author, 2011

Lake Baringo is one of the Great Rift Valley lakes located in Baringo county. It is also a native home of four subtribes with varied cultures. They include the Pokots, Tugens, Njemps and Samburu. The Pokot and Tugen come from the broader Kalenjin community while the Njemps and Samburu are sub-tribes of the Maasai. The four communities have lived together harmoniously utilizing the various economic resources within and without the lake region.

Fig 4-22 A signage to Roberts camp . Source: Author, 2011

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The client of this project, Mr Robert and his family, who are American citizens came to Kenya over two decades ago and have been involved in a number of development projects over the years. They also run a bird sanctuary and a farm in Baringo. Geographical location of site
Fig 4-23 the thorn bush and acacia vegetation found in the semi arid area of Baringo. Source: Author, 2011

A few kilometres off the equator, some 240 km north of Nairobi, in a semi arid region of Kenya lies lake Baringo. On the shores of the lake are a few scattered villages, farmsteads and a camp site hotel and on the lake, is an island (Samatiany) which has a small hotel and a bird sanctuary. Sitting by the edge of the lake, with Cherangani hills as a backdrop, one is enveloped by a peace and calm of place where man and nature come together in a natural relationship. Design brief/ Purpose of Building The idea was to design a home using indigenous materials that would be in harmony with the natural environment as well as with the local earth and thatch buildings around the site neighbourhood. (Fig 4.23, 4.24) The client also needed to take advantage of the dramatic lake views (Fig 4.25) and provide ample cool shaded areas through which the breeze could flow into the building. There was a wish to create casual free flowing spaces relating the inside to the outside for simple, informal, yet comfortable year-round living, for a family of four. Due to its remoteness, the house had to be built and maintained using local labour and resources and to be self sufficient in terms of energy needs. For this, a young architect Bill Meyerhoff who was staying with his sister Elizabeth Roberts was asked to come up with a scheme.

Fig 4-24 Edge of Lake Baringo.Viewing decks have been designed along the edges fronting the lake Source: Author, 2011

Fig 4-25. View of lake Baringo from the main entrance to Roberts House. It is one of the elements that forms the rich natural context. Source: Author, 2011

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Study Parameters The designer took the opportunity to explore a model of the indigenous native hut and attempted to express it as a structure for contemporary living. To attain harmony and continuity he made use of locally available materials that is characteristic of what the natives use to build.

Integration with Nature The architect brought the building line right to the edge of the lake shore so that the house sits on a bed of rock rising well above the water line. This way , the building achieves a maximum view of the lakes foreground connecting to the endless waters.

Fig 4-26 showing the positioning of the building on the edge of the land and lake, bridging the transition from land to water Source: Authors sketches

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Enhancement of terrain

The plan uses curved walls interconnecting the flowing spaces. There are two bedrooms, two bathrooms, living space and a dining area at the ground floor level. There is a loft bedroom accessible by a vertical ladder above the double height space. The built up area covers some 160 sq metres with the sitting and living areas accounting for a third of the built up area. One weak pattern of the agglomeration of buildings is their relationship which does not appear to follow any comprehensive land use pattern.

Fig 4-27 The curvilinear form of Roberts house in plan (roof plan). Source: Authors sketches

Visual continuity of interior and exterior spaces To capture dramatic views of the Cherangani escarpment and the Tugen hills, he provided wide double doors and windows, enhancing visual continuity of the interior and exterior environments.

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Symbolism & Imagery

The building reveals a fine sensitivity to form, intended function and a strong response to its location in terms of building materials and environmental factors. It makes an elegant statement one which not only fulfils the brief, but goes beyond it to produce a synthesis of form derived from the character of the native buildings in the neighbourhood. This is illustrated in the figures 4.28, 4.29, 4.30)

Fig 4-28 A conference facility taking the form of local Tugen hut Source: Author, 2011

Fig 4-29 Artefacts used by the local Tugen community Source: Author, 2011

Fig 4-31 Typical Tugen hut. A common typology in the neighbourhood. The designer borrowed a great deal from this hut; in terms of material and the form. Source: Authors sketch

Fig 4-30 A bar at the poolside. The shape of a local Tugen hut Source: Author, 2011

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Material Consideration and Building Technology The client acted as a contractor and participated in the construction. The woodwork, joinery and furniture was done through local labour force trained and guided by the architects father, a furniture designer.

Fig 4-32 Roof joinery Source: Authors sketches

The foundations about 500mm deep consist of concrete poured over a rock base. The structure is of sun-dried earth blocks reinforced by concrete posts and a continuous ring beam for seismic stability. The roof is thatched with grass and timber ceiling poles in an exposed structure which adds to the visual and aesthetic quality of the space.

Fig 4-33 Perimeter wall made out of stacked stones found locally Source: Author, 2011

Fig 4-34 Locally available reeds from the shores of the lake, used as blinders Source: Author, 2011

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CASE STUDY THREE 4.3 THE FALLING WATER Project Data Location: Client: Architect: Commencement: Completion: Bear Run, Pennsylvania, USA Edgar J. Kaufmann Frank Lloyd Wright 1936 1938

Fig 4-35 Location map of Falling Water Source: www.greatbulidings.com

Geographical Location Falling water is located in Bear Run Pennsylvania perched over a waterfall deep in the Pennsylvania highlands. It is precisely located on a rocky hillside with a beautiful forest stream. The house is well-known for its connection to the site. Study Parameters Wright makes the most poetic statement on his most complete romantic beliefs. Most of its floor space, surface area and expense were devoted to a single massive living and dining room and two terraces and canopy labs shooting out in several directions, while its three bedrooms and the usual services take up a small proportion of its three levels.

Fig 4-36 Site plan showing how the building sits in context Source: www.greatbulidings.com

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Integration with Nature & spirit of place Like few other buildings, Falling water exploited site advantage. Two cantilevered terraces, partially sheltered one by the other and by slab roof canopies cross twelve feet above the waterfall. Horizontal sweeps of reinforced concrete morror the ledge on which it rests, while the vertical thrust of stone fireplace and chimney stakes the house firmly in place echoing the plunging stream, reaching for the sky. Its composition is an abstract reformation of its natural site, a poetic but not literal interpretation of the defining features of its locale.

Enhancement of terrain In falling water, all the ancient atavistic elements have been invoked to create a temple dedicated to nature. The rocky ledge on which the house rests, the massive boulder that is allowed to penetrate the floor of the living area to form the hearth, the fire at the centre of the house, the waterfall below, and the great sweeping cantilevers, almost incredible in their daring that extend from this core of rock fire and water carry the eye to the landscape beyond.

Symbolism & Imagery Falling water achieved its truest measure of greatness in the way it transcended site to speak to universal human concerns. In its startling departure from traditional modes of expression, it revealed an aspiration for freedom from imposed limitations and its successful partnership with the environment, it was a guide post to humanitys proper relationship with nature. It was also a revolution of dichotomies; at the same time strikingly substantial and dangerously ephemeral, it is securely anchored to the rock ledge, but seems to leap into space. It embodies change and changelessness simultaneously, for its imperishable stone and concrete elements form entirely new compositions as the angle of vision shifts. Solid rock and rushing water reflect permanence and impermanence of life itself. Falling water sinks its roots deeply into the ground to grow out of its site more like a plant than most other buildings. Wrights ideal of truly organic architecture which he has advocated all through his projects reached its lyric expression with the design of the Falling water

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Contextual consideration in form making In falling water, Wright searches constant harmony with the site. The inspired solution in which the terraces of the house are poised over a waterfall, display Wrights mature sensitivity towards the truthful expression of structure and form, these being conceived in relation to the context in a way that managed to express his idea of shelter as inherent to domestic architecture. He uses extended cantilever made possible by the use of reinforced concrete planes( the cantilevered balconies) played against vertical stone planes( the wall and fireplace).

Fig 4-37 A view of Kaufmanns House Source: www.arcspace.com

Space & Place making

Falling water was not much of a permanent residence but a weekend entertainment retreat and like the Guggenheim Museum in New York, it is partly an exercise in architectural sculpture. Over the waterfall, the building rises three stories including living quarters and adjacent terraces above the main level. Its living room is roughly square but so open to its terrace that it hardly seems enclosed. Despite its three storeys, the house appears horizontal. Reinforced concrete cantilever slabs project from the rock band to carry the house over the stream. From the square living room, one can step directly down a suspended stairway to the stream. Immediately above the 3rd level, terraces open from sleeping quarters emphasizing the horizontal nature of the structural forms.
Fig 4-38 elevations of Kaufmanns House Source: www.greatbuildings.com

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Building technology and materials

Falling water composed of a myriad of rectangles is a masterpiece of sophisticated construction techniques. It is never redundant, built of innumerable pieces of varying size of material, it nevertheless achieves a unity of structure. The Falling Water by technology and standards is remarkably simple, a geometrical composition of horizontal concrete planes ( the cantilever balance) played against vertical stone planes ( the wall and fire place). The influence of international style can hardly be denied. All interior corners are dissolved in glass. The sweeping cantilevers are of reinforced concrete. Steel frame construction is incorporated around the hearth and used with the vertical stone planes to emphasize its verticality. The external finishing is done using carefully sized natural stone-facing selected around the site.

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CASE STUDY FOUR 4.4 DIPOLI STUDENTS UNION BUILDING OTANIEMI, HELSINKI

Project Data Location: Client: Architect: Commencement: Completion: Otaniemi Campus, Helsinki, Finland Finnish Students Union Reima Pietila 1965 1967

The architect had won the competition staged for the design of the students union building in 1961 but with a somehow different scheme. However, the seminal idea was preserved throughout the design process.

Historical background( Program/Purpose of building) The students union building was intended for use by Finnish students in the Helsinki University, Otaniemi campus. It contains meeting/common rooms, kitchen and dining facilities as well as administrative and related office spaces. Introduction The building is dissected by a path that was pre-existing on the site, with rectilinear spaces arranged to one side of it, and more public and geomorphic, freeform on the other. The corners of the building and the edges melt to-

Fig 4-40 Layout plan of Dipoli Student Union Building Source: www.greatbuildings.com

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gether in a way resembling the local rocks. The heavy-looking / massive roof has wide overhangs and is covered with copper sheets. The windows are of numerous different shapes, and natural materials unify the floor to the surrounding rocks. Study Parameters

Integration with nature The buildings configuration alludes to the sites morphology. The profile and plan follow the broken lines and forms of the rocks of the sites environment. The uneven surface of the rock resembles the rocky terrain, the roofscape appearing as if lifted some metres from its natural resting place, the earth. The architect respected the nature of site by integrating the built form into the environment

Enhancement of terrain

By the juxtapositioning of rectilinear forms in plan and section against the geomorphic arbitrary appearing spaces, Pietila enhances the terrains special characteristics . The buildings unique forms are in a complimentary relationship with the site, creating a sense of place

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Fig.4-41 Sections of the Students Centre Source: www.greatbuildings.com

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Fig 4-42 a model showing the spatial layout of Dipoli Source: Aalto University of Science & Technology

Fig 4-43 Ground floor plan layout Source: www.greatbuildings.com

Fig 4-44 First floor plan layout. Source: www.greatbuildings.com

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Unification of interior and exterior Natural materials unify the interior with the exterior as well as the treatment of the buildings edge and surface. The rocky terrain of the outside flows into the centres interiors, the floors, the walls, and even the uneven ceiling. At the base of the external walls, rocks are placed against the building, in a manner of blurring and distinct boundary between the ground and the building. The edges of the building melt into the landscape. Materials and Technology Fig 4-45 Use of natural materials to blend with the character of the surrounding Natural materials are used to manmade with the natural. site. These materials are used in places over concrete to proSource: www.greatbuildings.com duce a natural ambience. Timber is used to clad the steel mullions of the window frames, echoing the trunks of trees. Copper, which turns greenish with age and exposure to water and other natural climatic elements, is used to tie the building to the vegetation of the surroundings; the copper clad roof thus is unified with its environment. Timber is also applied as cladding to the underside of the copper-clad roof. These produce a visual and tactile unification of the outer natural realm with the internal manmade spaces.

Mimesis and Metaphor The Dipoli Students Centre has produced different responses. Diverse images have been read in it. Norbug Schulz reads a care image1 others have read it as a rock, among other readings. However the predominant one is of the care, with a geomorphic form. This may have its inspiration from what

1. Thakara j. Design after modernism

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Pietila says of his entry to the competition, giving it a title cave-mans wedding march2 . The metaphor of the cave can be discerned in the form of arbitrary (apparently), freeform interiors of the common rooms. There is also a merging of floor into ceiling and vice versa which strengthens these images. The roof is dressed in copper, lanterns on it appear as boulders brought in by the glacial ice, that are sitting on the roof. Here there appears to be mimicry of natures, of rocks and the building may be seen as a rock. The exteriors rugged terrain is replicated on the buildings surfaces. An organist allusion is evidenced in the buildings configuration with orthogonal spaces integrated into the armophous spaces by the penetrating path that Norburg-Schulz3 refers to as a backbone of the functional pattern. There is both a function alist approach as well as a romantic attitude to form making, with machine-like rectilinear service spaces and the related functions and freeform, natural-like spaces of the public functional spaces. ....to the north the orthogonally organised services, which appear like an efficient machine and to the south the topologically shaped common rooms.4 Architecture and natural landscape ideally should interact to create genius loci and Dipoli interacts with its site to produce a sense of place. Nature continFig. 4-46. ues, as architecture, the natural forms, their morphology is incorporated into Source: www.greatbuildings.com the architectural idiom. The genius loci of the original landscape accommodated that of the architecture. Pietila says of his building and genius loci...Dipoli hasn't been completed in the spirit of the indivisible synthesis of building and landscape architecture5
2. Norburg-schulz, c intentions in architecture pg 155 4. Norburg-Schulz Meaning in Western Architecture 5. Connah R. Writing Architecture

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The building becomes a replica of nature, in its material and surface articulation, camouflaged in the terrain that blends in with it. Dipoli therefore takes a naturally inclusive approach to achieve a unison with nature and evoke mental associations with nature in the user.

4.5 COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF CASE STUDIES Frame work of data analysis Data collection and analysis involved was based on the relationship of the building under study with its immediate natural and socio-cultural context. The following study parameters were employed in the data collection and analysis: See appendix for the tables and pie charts for the case studies. Integration with Nature Enhancement of Terrain Unification of Interior & Exterior spaces Cultural Symbolism Material choice

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ANALYSIS TABLE
Users Responses on Contextual suitability: tables of analyzed data used for response analysis in African Heritage House
SEMANTIC DIFFERENTIAL EXTREMELY X VERY X QUITE X NEITHER X NOR Y QUITE Y VERY Y EXTREMELY Y

Appropriate-Inappropriate ( Integration with Nature) Successful-Failed ( Enhancement of Terrain ) Success-Failed (Unification of interior & exterior spaces) Symbolic-non-symbolic (Cultural Symbolism)

8 13 12

2 3 3

5 3 4

2 0 1

3 1 0

0 0 0

0 0 0

13

The table above is a matrix of parameters that were considered in the analysis of the case study (African Heritage House) it involves the study of the extent to which each parameter has been reflected from the responses of the users and patrons of African Heritage house. Most of the respondents felt that the House integrated well with nature owing to its form and sensitivity to which the designer had in the choice of material and the desired texture. It was also evident that house enhanced the terrain with its outcropping nature in congruence with the Athi Ridge.

It was widely viewed that the Architect succeeded in visually unifying both the interior and exterior spaces. This, he made it possible through the use of full length windows. A majority of the respondents felt that African culture was amplified and reflected both in design and setting. This is reflected by the architects ability to borrow heavily from its context; the Swahili courtyard of the East African coastal region and the earthen mosques of Mali.

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Users Responses on Contextual suitability : Pie chart analysis in African Heritage House

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Users Responses on Contextual suitability: : tables of analyzed data used for response analysis in Roberts House, Lake Baringo
SEMANTIC DIFFERENTIAL EXTREMELY X VERY X QUITE X NEITHER X NOR Y QUITE Y VERY Y EXTREMELY Y

Appropriate-Inappropriate ( Integration with Nature) Successful-Failed ( Enhancement of Terrain ) Success-Failed (Unification of interior & exterior spaces) Symbolic-non-symbolic (Cultural Symbolism)

12 8 9

4 6 7

3 4 4

0 2 2

4 2 0

0 0 0

0 0 0

Roberts house setting in the natural environment of the Lake Baringo shores was the reason for the respondents reaction to the building being appropriately situated and that it integrated with its setting.

It was widely viewed that the Architect succeeded in visually unifying both the interior and exterior spaces. This, he made it possible through the use of full length windows. A majority of the respondents felt that African culture was amplified and reflected both in design and setting. This is reflected by the architects ability to borrow heavily from its context; the recurrent typology of the Tugen hut considering the owners are of American origin.

Most of the respondents too felt that the House integrated well with nature owing to its form and sensitivity to which the designer had in the choice of material and the desired texture. It was also evident that house enhanced the terrain with its low lying nature in congruence with the Tugen plains gently sloping to the lake.

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Users Responses on Contextual suitability: : Pie chart analysis in Roberts House, Lake Baringo

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5.0 CHAPTER FIVE CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 5.1 Conclusions Responsiveness to site and contextual conditions demands consideration of a diverse set of determinants. These shape or inform the development of sustainable site plans. These determinants include; on-site (intrinsic) and off -site (extrinsic) factors. On-site form determinants Design determinants include intrinsic site features that are retained, undisturbed, in the site plan. A steep, wooded slope or other natural or cultural feature lends character to the site and contributes to the sites unique sense of place. These elements can be viewed as development constraints that, if disturbed, would have negative environmental or community impacts. The Architect ought to integrate his design with the natural characteristics of the site . This means that an intensive and informative site analysis should be carried out to pick out the salient and unique characteristics of a given site. This should inform the design approach; to integrate, enhance or boost cultural continuum of the context. Off-site form determinants This includes, neighbourhood, community, and regional character. (For example, building styles or materials that may be echoed in new buildings or site designs.) Nearby buildings and infrastructure. (For example, sites on a visible hilltop may demand a special design treatment; an off-site landmark may influence the placement of circulation pathways-on-axis with the landmark; or siting of a building to give it a prominent view of the landmark) The determinants vary from one project to the next, thus a thorough site and contextual analysis will identify important design or form determinants for a given project. These determinants are important as they provide the

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basis, or rationale, for organizing and articulating the program on the site. The Natural Environment Built form represents a dialogue between human purpose and natures processes over time. The natural environment is a constant that successive human generations must address again and again each in accordance with its own values and technology. Civilizations rise and fall, traditions, values, and policies change but the natural environment remains enduring framework within which the human community builds. The natural environment and form taken together , tell a story of the interaction between natural processes and human purposes over time.
Serengeti serena safari lodge

An in-depth analysis into the published works by the different authors touching on the subject of contextualism showed that they all were in concert with the need for this site responsive kind of approach to architecture, more so in contemporary times. They found common ground in the interpretation and advocacy for the adoption of the following parameters relating to context; Designing with nature Designing with culture Designing places for people John Sawhill, a one time president of The Nature Conservancy ,USA could not have laid it out any better when he said; Architectural form is the point of contact between mass and space...Architectural forms, textures, materials, modulation of light and shade, colour, all combine to inject a quality or spirit that articulates space. The quality of the architecture will be determined by the skill of the designer in using and relating these elements, both in the interior spaces and in the spaces around the buildings1 A satisfactory level of contextual response characterised the case studies analysed . This was established through

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their subjection to the said contextual design parameters. There was however room for tremendous improvement for a more inclusive design practice. Salient themes emanating from these parameters are the very basis of a site responsive kind of architecture and are; Integration with nature Enhancement of terrain Unification of interior and exterior spaces Cultural inclusivity Material consideration Symbolism and imagery Total subordination to nature They are relevant in the generation of architectural form that celebrate the unique character of site. Their applications in the case studies have resulted in forms and spaces that are distinctive and aesthetically pleasant seen in the case of a majority of Kenyan resorts besides the two case studies. The shaping of built form to serve human purposes at whatever scale, from the house, to the city and from garden to the region, entails an understanding of the human and natural worlds in both an empirical and natural sense. In designing, we extract natural features from their context and reorder them to serve human purposes. At times we attempt to initiate or reproduce natural processes and forms, at times we abstract, echo processes and form. This, we do to express and emphasize meaning. The essence of place and the concern for nature and all its properties should be the core of architecture. In conclusion, the process of dwelling, an irreducible fact of every culture is an aesthetic act entailing being or

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doing, a correspondence between nature and culture. Through cultivation and construction, individuals and society forge a place within nature that reflects their own identity, their needs, values and dreams. It is the making of and caring for a place as well as the contemplation of these labours and their meanings, which comprise the aesthetic experience of dwelling. By avoiding inherent site problems, and dealing with constraints, and capitalizing on inherent site assets and opportunities, architects and site planners can limit long-term maintenance costs and more importantly, come up with an all-inclusive aesthetically pleasant built form and fabric. 5.2 Recommendations Turning to nature for inspiration; Buildings are mirrors of our understanding of nature and through them we can explain our past and our process to the future. The overall layout should express its identity, structure and its meaning as an entity within the environment. Adoption of the Contextual Parameters of Design These parameters hold the general view that each site has a unique character and therefore the need to treat each differently. Adoption of the said parameters by architects in design results in a varied mix of customised forms, hence a rich architectural heritage. Technology and Materials With technological advancement, it has become relatively easy to generate forms of any nature, moulded from the natural environment. There are therefore possibilities for innovative yet conservative use of natural materials. Coupling these two factors by all players in the built environment will yield appropriate forms uniquely tai

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lored to the specific sites. Cultural Inclusivity Kenya has a rich and varied blend of cultures which sadly has not been fully reflected in the generation of built forms. There is need to incorporate local architectural characteristics in our contemporary practice. Such amalgamation of salient features would yield enjoyable and quality forms with regional identity. As professionals who shape the built environment we have an imperative to redefine our role in this planet from one of exploitation to that of stewardship. (Architecture: AIA Journal, June 1993)

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PRIMARY BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. Published works Tsui. E. Evolutionary Architecture: Nature as a basis for Design. New York Gelernter, M. 1995. Sources of Architectural form. Manchester University press Denyer S. 1978. African Traditional Architecture. London. Heinemann Educational press Day, C. 1990. Places of the soul. The aquarium press Gans, D et al. The Organic Approach to Architecture. New York. Chichester Wiley Ching F D K. 1979. Architecture: form, space and order. New York, Van Nostrand Vein Blake. P. 1965 . Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture and Space. Penguin books inc. Schulz, N.C. 1980. Genius Loci; towards a phenomenology in Architecture. Academy editions London Schirmbeck. E. 1987. Idea, Form and Architecture. New York. Van Nostrand Reinhold Ltd, Storre. W. A. 1978. The Architecture of F.L.W. MIT press Ltd Unpublished works

2.

Kariburi, K. 1989. Traditional African Architecture and its Place in the Modern Context. Thesis report, University of Nairobi Opon, P.N. 1993. Symbolism and Built Form..Thesis report, University of Nairobi Rutto R.C. 1996. Location as an Approach to the Generation of form in Architecture. Thesis report , University of Nairobi Munene G.M. 1997. Themes of Organic Architecture. Thesis report, University of Nairobi,

2.

Periodicals

Landscape Architecture Journal; Vol. 7 1988 Architectural Digest; 1996

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APPENDIX

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Appendix 1

Fig 4-47.Sample of tabulations and pie chart used in data analysis Source: Adapted from Joe Kagiina Thesis, 2009

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Appendix 2

Sample questionnaires
Questionnaires for staff
Declaration: Your assistance in this study is highly appreciated. Your answers are of particular importance as you have been chosen to be part of this study. The findings will be strictly used for academic purposes. Under no circumstances will individual answers be divulged. THANK YOU.

RESPONDENT`S DETAILS Gender: Male: () Female :(..) Age: > 18( ) 24 > 24( ) 35 > 35( ) 60 > 60( ) Occupation/ position: .. Level of education: Department: . Number of years of service: .. Hours spent in the Institution per day: 2 hours ( ) > 2 4 hours ( ) >46hours ( ) >68hours ( ) > 8 hours ( ) Instructions: You are asked to gauge various qualities using the scale given below. You are requested to tick () in the choice in which you feel the quality lies.

SEMANTIC DIFFERENTIAL

EXTREMELY X

VERY X

QUITE X

NEITHER X NOR Y

QUITE Y

VERY Y

EXTREMELY Y

Appropriate-Inappropriate ( Integration with Nature) Successful-Failed ( Enhancement of Terrain ) Success-Failed (Unification of interior & exterior spaces) Symbolic-non-symbolic (Cultural Symbolism)

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Appendix 3
walls Exterior Interior Roofing structure Roofing material openings finishes

Check list for Authors observatory data collection


Material & construction technology used

Contextual response Study Parameters used in collecting data Integration with nature Enhancement of terrain Unification of interior & exterior Material consideration Symbolism & imagery

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