Hughes and Harris Residence
Lamu, Kenya
This restored domestic structure serves as a holiday house on Lamu Island. Lamu is located off the northern coast of Kenya and is characterized by its hot and humid tropical climate. Known as a trading harbor in the 17th century, the town of Lamu now stretches for one kilometer along the coast. The population has reached 6000.

Due to the island's water-access only status, there is no vehicular circulation. Many of the old houses within the dense, low-rise urban fabric are in poor repair or in a state of ruin. Moreover, renovations over the years have greatly damaged the specific spatial organizations and ornate plaster decorative details.

The Hughes' residence is located off a narrow street in the center of Lamu amidst a row of two and three-story houses, each containing a backyard garden.

A typical house on Lamu is on two levels set around an open courtyard. And the spatial organization leads successively from public to private. The open courtyard, that leads into the house, is the center of the house, off of which opened the reception lobby and meeting spaces. Toward the rear are the more intimate sleeping chambers, which opened onto the garden defining the rear of the site. On the upper floor, reached by a separate staircase, is the sebule, a room for the male guests who are traditionally not allowed to enter the living quarters of the house; the kitchen is on the roof. The principal structural walls are stone; infill walls are of coral rag; both are laid in lime and sand mortar. Mangrove trunks span the three meter distance between supporting walls. Interior and exterior facades are plastered in a lime and sand mixture.

Source: Aga Khan Trust for Culture
Lamu, Kenya
Images & Videos
Associated Names
Building Usages