Categories : Trends

FHG BLOG 01: My First House
02 June 2015

There Must be “literally tonnes” of people looking for a place they can call their own In Nairobi.

Problem is that everywhere you look there is probably a road block to your dream. The Land prices are impossible in all the areas where you would want to live. Where you could possibly afford land it is so far that it would be easier to get a helicopter to reach there. But money often is what you do not have a lot off- so you’re stuck!

And I forgot -when you finally get your land in the middle of now where and you muster the courage to even Imagine you could live there- by convincing yourself that no sane thief would bother to conduct their trade there- you need an Architect to assist you get your drawing plans.

But aren’t architects terribly expensive? Could I possibly pay the Architect as much as I bought the land? And So you take a short cut and get a plan off the street corner- somewhere.

But at the bank or SACCO they will not give you any money- not without Governor Kidero’s mighty stamp on your plans- And so you grudgingly troop back to your architect ( and negotiate “as-if-your-mother -was-in-ICU!” Later you proceed to pay only a third of the fee and notwithstanding your bankrupting your architect you soon have the all-needed Stamp.

It’s time to build- armed with your plans under your armpit- and With the Best fundi your sub-county can produce……

…………..(continue this story. Winning story gets a free plan of your first

In the wake of NASA’s announcement Monday that it had found proof of liquid water on Mars, the outcome of a NASA-sponsored architectural competition for building a 3-D–printed habitat on the planet—announced just the day before—seems more important than ever. The competition, organized under NASA’s Centennial Challenges program, asked architects to conceive of a habitat for astronauts that could be built by 3-D–printing robots ahead of human arrival on an eventual mission to Mars.
Cutaway view of the habitat.

See also FHG Architecture vs People

The winner was Ice House, a project designed by New York–based Space Exploration Architecture (SEArch) and Clouds Architecture Office (Clouds AO). Where many of the other entries envisioned bunkerlike structures and subterranean accommodations made out of Martian earth known as regolith, the winning team imagined an aboveground structure made from two nested ice shells, constructed by 3-D–printing robots after harvesting underground water, beneath an ETFE membrane.
“We thought, who wants to live underground after traveling all that way?” said project leader Michael Morris, a member of SEArch, a principal of the New York architecture firm Morris|Sato Studio, and the instructor of a space architecture course at Pratt Institute. “We wanted a design that made a human presence above the ground and that was transparent or translucent so there was a connection to the landscape and sun.”

An area between the two ice shells serves as a buffer from the Martian environment.
Inside the structure, a four-story living space is separated from the ice by translucent Aerogel insulation while a vertical indoor garden supplements oxygen and food. Although the concept may seem like the stuff of dreams, the team has already been working with partners on 3-D ice-printing demonstrations.
“This project wasn’t speculative at all,” says Morris. “We really wanted to prove we could do this, and that’s what came across to the jury—this idea is feasible.” The next phase of NASA’s competition will focus on fabrication technologies and building a full-scale sample of a habitat. Adopted by FHG Architecture (K) Ltd

So often we hear, with regard to cities, terms like “livable,” “sustainable,” “green,” “resilient,” and more recently, “smart,” spreading promise of a city as the ideal model for humanity’s urban dwellers. We are fed dreams of a self-aware, self-sustaining, self-mending, ecological, and egalitarian urban paradise. But livable, green, sustainable, and smart for whom, exactly? And, at what cost? And whose? If the city of the future can’t better the lives of those most in need—those without homes—then how do we measure its success? Despite many well-intended “quality of life” advancements made through urban design, separate infrastructures are put into place to explicitly degrade the lives of the city’s already poorest. And the architectural surface often has to deliver the message.

Architecture is a prism for pondering more than design. It is the dominant means by which humanity’s landscapes are formatted for social life. We are a social species, but perhaps more than that, we are a spatial species; and ultimately, because of these relations, a political one, too. While architecture is our interface with the earth, it is also the dimension through which we interact with each other and organize (and are organized by) larger systems of political, legal, and economic class structuring. Since so very few have a hand in actually shaping the city, most people are captives of the spaces they inhabit and subjects of their categorical powers and biases. Many more are even fiercely excluded from participating at all in the city’s making.

Architecture alone has never produced a truly egalitarian society, and perhaps there can never be true equality without an absolute recalibration of the spatial. In fact, from the urban poor’s perspective, you could say architecture is a kind of warfare through other means; at times a bureaucratic leviathan of segregation and incarceration, and at others blunt force trauma to the head. It only makes sense that many scholars and activists today are working together to further social movements already afoot within the evolving framework of “spatial justice.”


At the very least, the issue of anti-homeless design does occasionally turn up in the news. In London last year, locals found spikes placed in the ground near an upscale real estate development to ward off rough sleepers. Days later, activists dumped concrete over them and they were never replaced. More recently, in Manchester, barbs were installed alongside the sidewalks of a high-end shopping mall to discourage loitering. Photos taken by activists went viral and led to their removal. Last year in France, right wing officials in Angouleme installed cages over city-center benches on Christmas Eve to expel the homeless. From Wales to Vienna, cages are erected near heat exhausts where the homeless seek warmth. Tokyo has long been known to deploy similar tactics. But now cities all over the world are practicing their own brand of “defensive,” or “disciplinary” design. These sorts of cruel strategies are hardly anything new to cities in the US. They date back to at least the 1980s, when these architectural irritants started to crop up in places like New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, when the deflation in federal affordable housing budgets led to an increase in homelessness, but they probably originate with the entrenchment of urban poverty after the Vietnam War.

Building Dreams