Mpata Lodge

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Migori - Kehancha Road, Mara Rianta, Kenya

Africa , Kenya 1992.7

Contractor: V.K construction

Site Area: 101,167.75㎡

Floor Area: Clubhouse 1,513㎡, Banda A 65㎡, Banda B 31㎡

Structure, Scale: Wood, Clubhouse - Basement + 2 Stories; Banda - 1 Story

Photo: Katsuaki Furudate

Commanding a majestic panorama of Masai Mara, the savannahs of the Masai tribe's people, this safari-park hotel complex sis astride a plateau gently sloping down towards a rugged, well-defined escarpment. Two dozen lodges, or bandas, on either side and parallel to the escarpment overlooking the Mara flank the centrally placed common clubhouse.

The clubhouse fuses two basically semi-circular, fan-shaped components. Beneath this are various functions which are terraced relative to the sloping terrain. In the center is an open patio which serves as the focal generator of the plan as well as a ventilator and shaft for natural daylight. The structure has been kept open to allow natural cross ventilation, but where there are strong winds, as occurs along the peripheral edges of the dining and bar areas, glass windbreakers have been installed. The choice of fan-shaped glazing for the roof is a further instance of a low-energy solution, designed to increase the level of natural daylight inside. To further reduce running costs, hot water heating is provided entirely by a solar-panel system. The structure is a gumpole framework that radiates out from the central circular patio. Once again, in order to cut initial costs and expenses, as well as to blend into the environment, only such building technology, labor, as well a materials, that were available locally, were employed. Finishes are predominantly stucco, local keekorok stone, with limited use of wooden floor planks.

The design, structure, and materials for the bandas are similar to those of the clubhouse but as one would expect, at a diminished scale. The semi-circular plans for both the central structure as well as the bandas repeat the circular designs of Masai architecture and villages and provided an ideal means to take in as much of the panorama as possible and to fuse the interior with the great African landscape outside.

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