CLIMATE RESPONSIVE DESIGN IN ARID AND SEMI ARID REGIONS A case of Segera, North East Kenya

ABSTRACT

Hot and arid areas have very harsh conditions that need very well thought out solutions to deal with the problems presented by the climate. An architect should ensure that the buildings in these areas, stands and provide protection to human beings against the harsh elements. The built forms should ideally address high ground and air temperatures, high solar radiation by day and high cooling radiation at night.

Modern technology and new materials are also fast changing the vernacular responsive way of life in these regions. This change is vastly experienced in the architecture. The upcoming modern buildings in these areas are defying the basic passive principles used, opting for mechanical principles to respond to the climate. This has negatively affected the human thermal comfort in modern buildings.

There’s has been several attempts to solve the problem of designing in hot and arid climates. These include the most celebrated simple innovative approaches of Architect Francis Kere of Burkina Faso. This study covered a few of his pioneering solutions in designing in this climate. These are Gando Secondary school, Burkina Faso. Some lessons deemed relevant to the study were picked for he has pioneered community driven, climate responsive and culturally sensitive designs that are affordable to the common person in the hot arid Gando Village Burkina Faso.

Other local case studies of similar approach and have attempted to solve the challenge of designing in this extreme climates were also selected and studied. These are Uaso Ngiro primary school, Segera, Laikipia Central and Oleleshwa primary school Narok. There climatic performance was also determined in comparison to the local vernacular architecture as since time immemorial, the vernacular architecture has always adapted better in this climate than their contemporary counterparts.

In order to analyse the environmental performance of these buildings it was essential to understand responsive design which aims at achieving symbiotic relationship between nature and architecture. It basically establishes that two principle parameters of climate influence built form and fabric. These are temperature and solar geometry, the former influence strategies for passive cooling and heating while the later aiding in the development of built forms, fenestrations and means of shading. However other climatic factors also influence responsive design which include but are not limited to winds, humidity and rainfall.

Selected buildings were analysed climatically, these are the award winning green school, Uaso Ngiro primary school, vernacular Maasai Manyatta and two new modern classrooms at Endana secon

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