More often than not shrines are created to celebrate an existing elevated place say like the Pantheon in the Acropolis or the Chapel at Rochamp. These respects and capture the genius loci of the place by appropriating a site-specific design that serves to enhance the already established character of a place. The scale of the aforementioned projects is much bigger than the Shrine at Strathmore University but few parallels can be observed. Having the challenge of not having such readily elevated spaces the shrine strives to create its spirit, an environment of reflection and contemplation by way of its placement on site, blend with nature, universality of access and transparency of its design.
In its humbleness the Shrine is a small isolated structure on podium finished in natural materials. However its magnitude to the faithful cannot be underestimated. As mentioned it stands out as a place of reflection to oneself and for soul searching.
However so, its not just outstanding due to its spiritual significance but the quality of its Architecture. It boasts the use of natural stone, zero jointed both on the wall and the floor culminating in a simple traditional form that is easy to identify as a place of worship. Its exposed trusses together with the stone give it a rather rustic yet modern feel and appearance.
Its level of detail is eye catching and can be observed on the window sills, the stone work and floor finishing. The metal grille doors enhance continuity of space from the inside to the outside linking the shrine to nature with ease.
The shrine is a universally designed structure in that it can be accessed easily by all through the use of the proper designed ramps. It scale and proportion is well thought as it balances the big building blocks of the university and the green environment around it in a area that boast highly environmental conscious designs
It small in scale but the Strathmore Shrine stands out for its ingenuity in use of material, placement on site, access and the obvious spiritual significance.
Architect: Lexicon+Ion Architects
Client: Strathmore University
Project Team: Solomon Mbicha, Felix Lati, Oscar Onguto
Location: Nairobi, Kenya