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We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.

– Aristotle

Designers think everything done by someone else is awful, and that they could do it better themselves, which explains why I designed my own living room carpet, I suppose.

– Chris Bangle

Architecture is a dangerous mix of power and importance.

– Rern Koolhaas

A design isn’t finished until someone is using it.

– Brenda Laurel


Take that Mortgage!

Many young people I meet have a common and extreme aversion to Mortgages. The common understanding appears to be that mortgages are way too expensive in Kenya.” You get to pay twice or thrice the value of the house” they argue.

Leading Kenyan Architect andrew Kimani of FHG Architecture (K) Ltd (FHG) thinks that often this is half the story. Yes, this May be true some of the Time the architect argues. But study the facts closely.

The Stanley and HassConsult Property Index for Quarter 2, 2015, land is the best investment compared with other commodities since 2007. The report says that:

KES 1 million invested at the end of 2007 would have been worth KES 6.17 if invested in Nairobi’s Satellite Towns, KES 5.59 if invested in the Nairobi’s Suburbs, KES 2.01m if invested in property, KES 1.86m if invested in bonds and KES 1.13m if invested in savings”.

Several conclusions may be Made from the above quote by the discerning “home owner to be”

The first is not so obvious- If you do not invest a million shillings in anything you will have nothing after eight years! For emphasis I mean Nil i.e. zilch! There is no use complaining about the expense of mortgages when you blow all you have on sporty play toys and drunkard weekends at Safari sevens! The point is if you don’t invest at all – any other investment least of taking a mortgage will be better.

The second draws directly from the statistics above- Whereas someone who took a mortgage at 15% has paid on A straight line interest calculation 100% the value of their property- the same property has about doubled in value in the same period. To say this in another way the property owner has paid nothing beyond the initial sale price value wise. Crazy but true!!

The third lesson is that you do not have to pay your mortgage over the full 15-20 year mortgage term. Since most of the financial institutions in Kenya are over cautious in their mortgage appraisal they leave many a real possibility to increase their actual payments. A small overpayment sustained can really shave off years off the rear end of the mortgage. Lump sums now and again also have a tremendous impact on the overall interest and term of the loan


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

Building Dreams