Fused with Takaungu Creek, Kipepeo Homestead Reveals Transformation of Local Vernacular Architecture

Aryo Sumbogo | Thursday, 18 August 2022

Kipepeo Homestead managed to use a site on a cliff surrounded by mangroves to look like houses full of simplicity along Takaungu Creek. The project, consisting of a two-story main house and two one-story cottages, also features an interior courtyard garden (raid) commonly found in local vernacular coastal buildings.

Kipepeo Homestead is located above a coral cliff and mangrove trees facing Takaungu CreekKipepeo Homestead is located above a coral cliff and mangrove trees facing Takaungu Creek.

Cottrell & Vermeulen Architecture seeks to optimize the use of local materials and vernacular building techniques in the design of Kipepeo Homestead, which is referred to by arranging the building around its central courtyard, to create an informal domestic setting. There have been several rearrangements or transformations using the material palette and traditional building methods carried out by the architect. For example, to provide natural ventilation, safety, and dappled light, the walls of this house were constructed with hit-and-miss coral blocks combined with wooden louvre window shutters. This feature further allows the space to benefit from natural cross ventilation.

Kipepeo Homestead is behind mangrovesKipepeo Homestead is behind mangroves.

South elevation of Kipepeo HomesteadSouth elevation of Kipepeo Homestead.

Then, the screed floor which is pigmented with coral dust flows vertically and horizontally, starting from the baraza area (traditional bench) in the courtyard, the stairs in the main house, the kitchen work table, to the workbench support structure. Meanwhile, traditional metalworking techniques for making decorative screens are also interpreted through steel window security bars which are widely used by local houses. Still around the openings, both externally and internally, this homestead is also composed of plastered window architraves to refer to the vernacular language of the local village. Not to forget, the whitewashed ceiling in the house is supported by a black stained strip, which refers to the traditional black mangrove pole.

The interior courtyard garden among the mass of buildings is a representation of the local vernacular coastal building at Kipepeo HomesteadThe interior courtyard garden among the mass of buildings is a representation of the local vernacular coastal building.

The view from the side of the baraza (traditional bench) area on the edge of the courtyardThe view from the side of the baraza (traditional bench) area on the edge of the courtyard.

In the program, there are at least three types of living spaces that focus on changing times, months, and climates. They are the covered roof terrace, the Baraza courtyard, and the living-dining space, which collaborates to form a communal space while providing views for residents. In addition, an equally important part of this project is the landscape which can encourage the house to be more integrated into its environment that matures and develops, as the seasons change. The landscape built on former agricultural land is now home to native trees, shrubs, wildflowers, and grass. Thus, in particular, the landscape can also be utilized for the use of traditional ethnobotanical herbs, feeding wildlife, and breeding butterflies because it provides many host plants.

Living room on the ground floor of the main houseLiving room on the ground floor of the main house.

The dining room in the main house, after the living room, which also contributes to forming the communal spaceThe dining room in the main house, after the living room, which also contributes to forming the communal space.

In addition to its role in exploring local vernacular architecture, Kipepeo Homestead also demonstrates a sustainable design. Not wanting to be too dependent on the use of air conditioning during the hot weather, this house is also oriented to maximize the sea breeze. Then, the insulated roof that protrudes also protects the interior of the house to avoid the scorching sun and rain. Finally, this building also reflects the 'off-grid' concept because the electricity source comes from the application of photovoltaic technology and the clean water comes from the reprocessing of rainwater collected and stored on the roof.

A view of Kipepeo Homsstead from across Takaungu CreekA view of Kipepeo Homestead from across Takaungu Creek.

Site planSite plan.

Ground floor planGround floor plan.

 

Project Information

Office Name :
Cottrel & Vermeulen Architecture
Project Location :
East Coast, Kenya
Completion year :
2019
Photographer Name :
Anthony Coleman & Norbert Rottcher
Architecture| Residential|
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