RegIONal RespONse Of bUIlT fORms; a Case Of IsIOlO TOwN aND ITs eNvIRONs.

Today’s age of globalization is characterized by constant change and development in all aspects of life. Unfortunately, in order to keep up with these changes, most developing countries have resorted to mimicking solutions from industrialized countries to solve most of their problems . On the architectural front, most of the upcoming buildings within these countries feature elements that are informed by foreign and not regional sources. These modern solutions are in many cas- es inappropriate and unsuitable to local conditions. Furthermore, these borrowed architectural solutions are often not contextualized before being applied. Therefore, this has led to the emer- gence of architecture that shows no sensitivity to the local climate, cultural, social, economic and geographical conditions. Our country Kenya is no exception to this phenomenon. There has been a constant trend towards the adaptation of foreign building practices and an abandonment of the traditional design and construction principles all together. Many towns in Kenya, such as Isiolo town, are home to a number of different ethnic communities each with different socio-cultural and economic backgrounds that in uenced how they perceived space. However, the rich cultural back- ground of these groups of people is not expressed in the majority of built forms today. This study therefore seeks to understand the guiding principles behind architecture that shows a response to it’s regional context. With Isiolo towns and it’s environs (Garba Tulla town) as the study area, the author sort out to analyze to what extent the existing buildings within this region have re- sponded to their immediate contexts. In conclusion, in order to achieve architecture that responds well to it’s region, the author recommends the reinterpretation of vernacular design elements, a deep understanding of the cultural context within which the building is sited, an investigation of the climatic context, integration of the built form to it’s geographical site conditions and the use of local construction materials.

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