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Traditional architecture refers to building using techniques and styles that are symbolic to a particular culture and it's people at a particular time and in a unique way ( Although the word traditional may be taken to mean old, historic or ancestral, it is important to acknowledge that some of these people and their cultures are existent to date and carry forth a culture that has existed for centuries before.
Conservation of traditional architecture enables inhabitants of a place to communicate physically through their forms and make evident what they value firstly for themselves, then for future generations and is often characterised as being simple and intentional. As many authors have proven and continue to do so, there are solutions in traditional architecture to issues of functionality, symbolism and aesthetics that we experience to date. Modern architecture on the other hand, is an international style that emerged in the 20th century as a response to large scale changes in society and technology and is associated with building functions, use of modern materials, lack of ornamentation and decoration and spacial openness. Modern architecture values the imposition of it’s own characteristics and values upon the built environment and therefore often tends to ignore the context in which it sits thereby lacks contextualism. Because our lives are dynamic and guided by change, modern buildings seem to have taken the frontline in our urban areas. Mombasa town along the East African coast is no exception. With a rich history, the Old Town of Mombasa is characterised by historically significant buildings constructed as early as the 15th century. With growth of the town happening further away from the conserved Old Town area, the historical significance of the town seems to be diminishing and in it's place an environment that disregards the rich values of it's people especially architecturally through adaptation of modern contemporary styles. This research seeks to investigate the values of the Swahili people in Mombasa which are manifested physically through their architecture. Swahili design principles were established and later, modern case studies that displayed an effort towards conservation through manifestation of these principles were analysed. The impacts of these design constants stand valid to date, evident from the fieldwork.

With a rapid population growth rate and high economic value of space and materials, the author recommends strategies that can be adapted in modern times by architects and developers. Where a strategy may be considered unadaptable due to the above mentioned constraints, modifications are
provided. The architectural conservation of Mombasa town and most importantly, it's cultural significance cannot be undermined and therefore efforts must be made to ensure it's sustainability. Conservation works of Abdalla Shatry, Ussam Ghaidan and Lorna Kiamba provided outstanding references for this study.

The Swahili as we know them today emerged as a result of influences received from Arabs, Asians
especially Indians and Persians and hinterland communities that visited the East African coast
mainly for trade activities. The visitors who followed the Monsoon winds to the coast,
together with the locals along the coastline engaged in transoceanic trade that consequently made room for cultural, social and economic interactions. The interactions of various communities along the East African coast physically manifested itself through the emergence of a unique architectural style in the various Swahili towns (Mutonga. P. Wanjiru, 2014). Mombasa's Old Town is one amongst such towns.
The resultant built environment is therefore a reflection of the immigrant groups with modifications that fit into the context of the African coastline.

Swahili architectural design, before receiving influences from incoming visitors, was seen to be very
simple with the main aim being to cater for the primary architectural needs of shelter, form and
comfort. Later on, it evolved into a more complex style that paid attention to detail and cultural attributes;
ornamentation and privacy respectively. This gave birth to the Swahili design principles which will be
discussed later; where initial building strategies, even those used in the traditional mud and wattle were not
completely abandoned but instead modified into ensuring better building performance and user comfort.

The styles are existent to date. Most towns built in the earlier times such as Lamu and Pate are still existent, some such as Kilwa have deteriorated and become ruins, while others such as Mombasa and Zanzibar continue to grow around an ancient core (John Middleton, 1921).

Conservation efforts have been seen in several of the historic towns such as Zanzibar, Mombasa and
Lamu. In April 1990, Mombasa's Old Town was declared amongst the few national historic sites and
later a World Heritage site by UNESCO. These conservation efforts were a step towards the
preservation of a rich cultural and most importanly, architectural legacy. Architectural conservation along the coastline clearly provides a sense of identity but most importantly, aims at solving building problems
that continue to be encountered in modern architectural times. Such aspects as functionality, symbolism and contextuality, privacy for women, social interaction habits are seen to be solved through vernacular architecture.