this is where i work

I’ve had a long, tiring – but rewarding – day and with only enough energy to edit these pictures, my brain is dead and I just need to shut down. Lol.

A few of you may know that after getting my first degree (Bachelor of Architectural Studies B. As), I took a gap year and worked at a firm called Morphosis for close to a year (okay not really, but 8 months in students’ time is close to a year). Back then, our offices were quite modest – a three bedroom house repurposed into an office (there is a word for that but I can’t really get my thoughts together at this hour). It was great in it’s own way, very intimate, and we made some priceless memories there.

However, I must say I was very excited knowing that the firm moved and I’d be working in this contemporary masterpiece. I mean, in the Kenyan context this building is kind of a big deal. Apparently, it’s not even completely done yet! I’ll be sure to post updated pictures once the interiors are done. I’ll let the pictures to the rest of the talking as I go snooze, I have to go to work in the morning these days.

Ciao!

office

office2

office-3sunset

PS. I also get to enjoy beautiful sunsets every so often. It’s still quite sparse out here, and I’m loving it.

PSPS. I took these photos on my phone, and edited on Snapseed then VSCO. I need to get Lightroom so I can start experimenting with that too.

#okaybye

swahili beach resort, diani. mombasa

“..A fantasy tropical paradise where there’s nothing but good; magical sunsets, flowers, lots of fragrant fresh fruit, and (imaginary) live performances from Cesaria Evora, Lianne la Havas and Jessie Ware”.

Take me back already, please?

 

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Well, it’s been a while since I shared  on this space. I get overly critical of what material to put up on my blog, so I tend to slack on my blog posts. If you, however, would like to keep up with my adventures on a daily, feel free to follow me on my Instagram. It’s my happy space 🙂

Between running around for months to complete my final year project (which I’m happy to say I finished and did well alhamdulilah), and a cleansing month of fast and prayer (Ramadhan) I didn’t have much time for fun or recreation. A few weeks in Mombasa at my grandmother’s were more than welcome; I had longed for the sea, it always gives me a sense of renewal.

I can’t find the words to describe how I felt when I got to The Swahili Beach Resort, but I’ll try. Excited. Hopeful. And very much in my own dream world – a fantasy tropical paradise where there’s nothing but good; magical sunsets, flowers, lots of fragrant fresh fruit, and (imaginary) live performances from Cesaria Evora, Lianne la Havas and Jessie Ware.

Prior to the brief evening at the resort, I’d spent the majority of my morning and afternoon with friends and family at Amani Tiwi Resort. Catching up, eating, laughing and taking long, peaceful strolls by the beach. See, the thing about hanging out with loved ones is they get you. Even with your annoying paparazzi habits, they will still tolerate you and even think of more things to do that fit in your description of ‘fun’.
So they suggest, how about we leave early and explore Diani. They (obviously) didn’t get any objections from me.

We first stopped by Congo Beach (will share that adventure in another post) and then stopped by Swahili Beach Resort in time for afternoon tea.
As a (recent graduate) architect, I had been aware of the design of the resort for years; Its characteristic cascading pools and whitewashed buildings, heavily influenced by Swahili architecture, and the designers’ application of symmetry as a theme in design.

What you don’t see is the feeling the spaces invoke on the user, the effect beauty has on a person. The way the spaces flow into each other, the way views are strategically framed to the ocean and public spaces. The smoothness of the floors and walls. The rippling sound of water in the vast (yet unimposing), domed central space. The beautiful furniture and its placement. The urge to want to stay in this space, forever. Ah. I almost had to be dragged out. If there’s anyone thinking of spoiling themselves and taking a trip to Mombasa, this place is a must see ❤

I hope you like the pictures, I took them all on my camera phone and edited them on the VSCO app. Catch up soon?

Fatma.

Interviewing Urko Sanchez

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Jambo dear readers!
Brace yourselves, this one’s a wordy post.

Some of you may be aware of my thesis topic of study, ‘Phenomenon of Homelessness; Towards Evolving a Solution’, with the aim of creating awareness and discussing viable and sustainable architectural design solutions for the homeless in our society. Because we don’t have homeless shelters for adults and families in East Africa, I narrowed my scope of research to children’s shelters and orphanages.

Note: I should formulate an online questionnaire to ask the general public about their opinions on the homeless of Nairobi.

About two months ago, my colleague Dida sauntered over to my desk in studio and told me about this amazing orphanage she stumbled upon on the internet that she thought would be an interesting case study to document for my thesis.
I made plans, traveled to Djibouti, but didn’t manage to conduct my research due to strict protection of the users and just visa things (I’ve heard it’s a common problem). I was heart broken, and started looking for other case studies to document.

Alas, God closes one door and opens another. An opportunity came for me to interview the brains behind the design, and I couldn’t believe it. Urko Sanchez agreed to sit down for an interview with ME! I’d submitted some of his projects for school assignments in the past, and this is an architect whose work I deeply admired and respected.

We agreed to meet at Art Caffe, at the Junction Mall on 30th October at 11.30 am. This is how my it went:

I decided to leave school at 9.55 am, to be in town by 10.15 to pick up the camera from Sharon, be on a bus by 10.30 and at Junction by 11.15 latest.. What actually happened was..

10.30 am – I’m the only person on the bus.
10.45 am – The second person walks in (PS. Bus capacity 50 passengers).
11.00 am – Seven people on the bus, and the tout is still desperately shouting to passers-by, ‘Adams 50’.
At this point, I just decide to text Urko that I may be a little late and I’m sorry for the delay, and he responds that he understands, no worries.
The bus finally leaves town at 11.15 (best believe I was keeping track of every second) with about ten empty seats and I was just relieved to be on my way 😀
I came to the conclusion that everyone who lives those sides probably has a car, and jobless students like me have to plan for thirty more minutes than it usually takes, in order for the bus to fill up.

11.50 am – I’m running across The Junction parking lot like a mad woman with my kiondo and camera bag swaying, bouncing and hitting my sides, rehearsing how I’m going to introduce myself and going through the questions I’m to ask, praying that I haven’t made a bad impression and promising myself to always be thirty minutes early for EVERYTHING in life 😀

No por mucho madrugar amanece más temprano. Getting up very early won’t make the sun rise any sooner.

The interview went really well – I asked him if the project clients had a brief, his philosophy towards the design(case studies, books, articles to which he responded that he approached the design from a fresh perspective; his own), the environmental considerations he employed in the design in regard to Djibouti’s climate and the logic behind his space articulation.

I asked if I could take a few photos during the interview and he said yes. He was very humble and polite, and it was fascinating listening to his ideas in person. I aspire to be that engaged in my work, it’s the only way to attain self fulfilment. He sketched and I took notes and to end interview, I asked what piece of advice he would give to young architects. He said ‘Travel’, because it’s the only way you’ll get to see new buildings – experience the space, smell it, feel the textures.

Truly, the more you see the more you grow.
Thank you for reading!