FROM 2ND March - 23RD March 2022.


Communicating the Architecture of Vernacular house construction in Samburu

Samburu Stories is curated by students from University College Dublin. It recounts the story of the collaborative experience of building the n’kaji, the vernacular house of the Samburu lowlands of Kenya. By studying the house from a holistic, transdisciplinary perspective, we can better understand the complexities of globally shared challenges and how these impact how we build and live over the coming decades.

This exhibition is divided into three main sections: The Lengusaka – Samburu Landscapes; House Building; and The socio-cultural context of the Samburu region. Through photography, drawings and maps, this exhibition provides an opportunity to appreciate the sustainability of traditional craft building practices. The Samburu house has a negligible environmental impact.

The genesis of this exhibition was an active-learning initiative organised in 2019 by the School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy at UCD. ‘Crossroads of Change in the Global South’ was an experimental outdoor learning laboratory in the Samburu lowlands, a conservation area 400km north of Nairobi. Seven disciplines and fields were represented: architecture (design, landscape, and history & theory); engineering (civil); archaeology, world heritage conservation, and biology (ecology).

While in Kenya, the UCD team were hosted at the University of Nairobi by Arch. Musau Kimeu, Chairman of the Department of Architecture and Dr. Linda Nkatha Gichuyia, a Lecturer of Architecture and Building Physics. In the field, Ms. Faith Kimeli – a final year student of Architecture at the University of Nairobi, accompanied the team. Local Samburu women taught the team how to build a nomadic-pastoralist house from the ground up.

Emily Ann Byrne Noah Brabazon Ciara Fahy Andre Goyvaerts Niall Murphy Kate Newe Aakriti Sood Peter Whelan

Academic lead: Dr Samantha L Martin-McAuliffe
Nairobi Exhibition Inspirator: Dr Nkatha Gichuyia