2018-19 L.T. Shanks Travel Scholarship Lecture - Franco Mellone: Sustainability in Kenyan Architecture

Friday, November 9, 2018 - 1:30pm to 2:30pm
Photo by Franco Mellone
Photo by Franco Mellone

The L.T. Shanks Travel Scholarship is a scholarship for architecture students from Cal Poly Pomona that supports travel and research, based on a previously submitted proposal. This year’s recipients are Franco Mellone and Kleon Tran, who present their travel and research in a public lecture at Cal Poly Pomona. 

Franco Mellone, who traveled to Kenya for his research project, will give the first of two L.T. Shanks sponsored lectures, entitled “Sustainability in Kenyan Architecture”:

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.