Light is the giver of all presence, a famous architect quoted. By law and nature light expresses design elements by contrasting the same with what with we cant see and the higher the contrast the higher the expression. By will, a designer chooses to play with shadows and light and with control drama and desired ambiance is achieved. The Strathmore Business School is pregnant with light experience, space flexibility and legibility and use of materials.
To start with the last which is typical of almost all the developments in the entire school, the use of natural earth materials doesn’t just cut out on the embedded cost of materials and the carbon footprint of the building but gives the school its character across the board. The most interesting twist however is how these natural materials have been contrasted with modern glass and steel. The building seems to make a statement of its time, fitting in its locality but still stressing that its done in the 21st century.
The spaces flow from a multiple volume orientation lobby washed in natural light creating a ease visual continuity and transition from the outside to the inside. This then flows seamlessly into a multipurpose hall so integrated into the fabric of circulation and bathed in natural light from above creating almost an exterior convergence space inside a building. This is an expression of mastery of architect in double coding of functions by making use of an atrium which is usually a left out space and making it into a functional space and still ensuring that enough light is let into the building.
The use of stainless steel and the clean lines and planes add to the minimalist modern feel of the interiors sharply contrasted with almost informal exteriors.
Though the building has a lot of exposed glass in the public and circulation spaces, the offices and lecture spaces have their glazed windows shaded with aluminum sun shading elements. The internal offices spaces have non-permanent glass partitions that ensure maximum flexibility of the spaces.
This project like the other Strathmore School Projects expresses modern use of natural materials to achieve architecture of our time with economy on cost and environmental friendly.
Client: Strathmore Business School
Project Team: Felix Lati, Oscar Onguto, Solomon Mbicha
Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Awards: African Real Estate and Housing Finance (AREHF)_Best Green Building Development in Africa 2012.
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