Franco Mellone: Sustainability in Kenyan Architecture

Friday, November 9, 2018 - 1:30pm to 2:30pm
Interim Design Center (IDC)
Franco Mellone traveled to Kenya to study the country's architecture sustainability practices. (Image courtesy of Franco Mellone)
Franco Mellone traveled to Kenya to study the country's architecture sustainability practices. (Image courtesy of Franco Mellone)

The first of two 2018-19 L.T. Shanks Travel Scholarship Lectures will feature CPP/ARC student Franco Mellone, who will present his travel and research findings about sustainanle techniques in Kenyan architecture. His Shanks-sponsored talk will take place on Friday, Nov. 9 at the Interim Design Center.

The second Shanks awardee, fellow CPP/ARC student Kleon Tran, will present on Friday, Nov. 16. Both student lectures are enfolded into the department's larger lecture series, the 2018-19 Bernard Zimmerman Lecture Series.

Read on to get a sense of Mellone's findings and what his lecture has in store:

According to the United Nations, buildings are responsible for approximately one-third of the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. In this context, the concept of sustainability has become highly desirable in the field of architecture in the past decades. In contrast to the recent widespread trend of green architecture in developed countries as a response to climate change, there are many other regions where “sustainable” and “energy-efficient” buildings are often instinctively designed as a sensible response to the location, climate, and the social, cultural, and economic context. In order to advance the notion of sustainability in the context of climate change, it can be valuable to understand how in these regions of the world sustainable architecture has naturally developed throughout a long period of time due to the constraints presented by the local context.
"Sustainability in Kenyan Architecture” explores sustainable techniques in vernacular Kenyan architecture, as well as in contemporary designs that emphasize sustainability and African traditions. Africa is the world's second largest and second most-populous continent. However, in architecture school we do not learn much about the architecture of this region, as much as other parts of the world. Within Africa, the Republic of Kenya represents one of the most diverse regions in terms of demographics; it includes most major ethnic and linguistic groups found on the continent. It is also an emerging economy, offering both vernacular architecture, as well as modern buildings that rely on local construction techniques and design concepts developed throughout generations in response to the local context. The research was based on a visit to the cities of Nairobi (the capital and largest city) and Mombasa (the oldest and second largest city), as well as the traditional Maasai regions of Amboseli and Tsavo West.