Jamhuri High School, Nairobi. Sept 2010
image via dailystruggle
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Lake Victoria Serena Resort
Client: Suno Kay Osterweis
Architect and Interiors: Claudio Modola
Suno Kay Osterweis first visited Lamu, off the northern coast of Kenya, in 1996 after a brief safari. She was immediately seduced by the island’s heady mix of stylish, easy living and the eclectic crowd of regular visitors. She returned often eventually becoming acquainted with Claudio Modola, an architectural designer who practices in Lamu and lives on the neighboring island of Manda. In 1998, she acquired a narrow, steep plot of land facing the Indian Ocean, and quickly enlisted him to help her fulfill her dream of building a house of her own there.
Modola worked for weeks on sketches and eventually presented his client with a scheme that would fit the site’s topography and unusual dimensions. A fountain, to mark the transition from the outside to the inside, was to be at the entrance; the living spaces and master bedroom were to be placed on the upper levels to take advantage of the views and the ocean breezes. The ceilings were to be 23 feet high, and a swimming pool would be perched nearly 20 feet above the ground. The style would be inspired by the island’s Islamic architecture
Osterweis’ and Modola’s vision proved a difficult proposition. Building on Lamu is never easy. This centuries old island, with an old town that is a UNESCO protected Cultural Heritage Site, is accessible only by boat or air, and cars are not allowed.
“As they moved through the landscape and the towns, the five letters formed a word. The emergence of a word, an intruder, implies a culturization of landscape through thought. A culturization in motion that leaves no lasting mark. An ephemeral action, limited to four hundred and forty kilometres and ten hours of travel.”
One of the sphinxes of the Egyptian Bridge in St. Petersburg, Russia 1909.
Photo by Murray Howe.
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