Over the years, the hospitality industry in Kenya has experienced rapid growth, making travel and experiencing new places a mass culture of our society. The increase in demand of tourism facilities, has prompted the construction of Eco lodges, renovation and restoration of old ones and expansion of existing facilities in order to handle the increasing number of tourists.
The resulting effect is the emergence of new architectural design concept approaches that are aimed at meeting consumer needs and prevailing market trends. However, emphasis on design of impressive buildings as opposed to conscious buildings, has threatened the ecosystems and unspoiled landscapes within which these facilities are nestled in.
Therefore, this study will seek to understand the trends in the design of Eco lodges. It will provide a framework that can be employed in building design, to support the protection of eco systems, as well as elevate the experience of the tourists visiting these locations.
This study outlines the findings from lodges purposively selected with the emphasis on the type of natural landscape, (savanna or forested landscapes), location (Mt. Kenya Region), archetype (tree house structure, cottage and cabin), construction and building technology, spatial layout and configuration.
The design strategies are analyzed against the principles of Biophylic and ecological design, to help unravel which of the cases serves best as an interface between the
human experience and protection of natural landscapes and ecosystems. The findings show that each design is site specific. A successful design is one that responds to its unique site characteristics and constraints. However, certain factors cut across board when responding to natural landscapes, in an effort to protect them. As such, guidelines on ecological design strategies and modifications needed in protecting natural eco systems, are discussed and recommended.