Nanyuki Participatory Plan, Agriculture and Local Community

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Nanyuki Participatory Plan, Agriculture and Local Community

Mariacristina Agnello, Maria Rosario Bruno, Maria Irene Lattarulo, Gianluca Gnisci, Inés Martín-Roldán & Massimiliano Cafagna


The project responds to two of the main societal challenges of Nanyuki, efficient water management and the empowerment of groups at risk of social exclusion. It foresees the construction of a training centre for sustainable agriculture and a new urban plan to collect and distribute water that includes the rehabilitation of the city’s riversides and the installation of dew and fog collecting nets.
The centre and activities foreseen have been developed in cooperation with the Furaha Foundation and a network of NGOs working in the region to respond to local needs. The project seeks to integrate hydroponic crops, rooftop collection water and passive ventilation system. From a societal perspective, the centre will host a community radio to foster the integration of underserved groups.

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Leveraging the power of water in Nayuki as main pillar for progress and sustainability, and following conversations with local NGOs as well as analyses of climatic characteristics, efficient water management has been confirmed as the main challenge of Nanyuki. Considering this challenge, the project takes advantage of Nanyukis strategic location, at the base of the UNESCO National Park of Mount Kenya. The goal is to increase awareness among the society on their environmental resources and how to better exploit them following sustainable principles. The strategy is twofold: Multiple actions focused on collecting water nets on the riversides and collaborative orchards and a large-scale project to be developed during the next 15 years, which consists in the rehabilitation of the riverside, the creation of a new channel system and the conversion of the Municipal Sewage in wetland.


Empowering the people of Nanyuki’s: the Furaha centre means happiness in Swahili .

The Furaha centre is designed as an incubator and social catalyst that not only caters to a segment of the population but moreover exists as transversal system. It involves the local population at its core by using traditional construction systems in combination with innovative ones. The goal is to restore the social conscience and local autonomy, where the functions of the centre are aimed at socioeconomic development while integrating groups in risk of social inclusion. It includes training sessions and workshops to allow citizens to acquire new farming, textile and entrepreneurship skills as well as hosting the Furaha radio, a tool that has demonstrated to be extremely effective in many African countries for informing and empowering people.

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Sustainable architectural concepts applied to context and environmental conditions

The Furaha centre integrates landscape, environment, architecture and innovative technologies. The building construction is based on the innovative use of local materials and traditional construction techniques. It is enclosed within an external wall (typological archetype of the region) and is designed to be energetically self-sustainable following bioclimatic and passive systems principles. It is developed 1,5m below the external surface level in order to optimize temperature conservation. Water provisioning in the building is based on rooftop collection and dew collection systems. Dominant warm wind coming from the desert (NE) flows into the perforated stone wall that encloses a series of internal courtyards and gardens getting colder and flowing out on the opposite side of the building.

KooZA:rch©Mariacristina Agnello, Maria Rosario Bruno, Maria Irene Lattarulo, Gianluca Gnisci, Inés Martín-Roldán & Massimiliano Cafagna_05


Who influences you graphically?

In this competition we focused our attitudes on architectural drawings constructred through a multitude of lines upon lines and full of colours. We reserve importance to show,  to a jury composed of several professional figures, our ideas using renders and 3D views.

We were influenced by the masterplanning of M. Desvigne, Burgos y Garrido, West 8 and also by the architectural representation of Izazkun chinchilla, Baukuh architects, Atelier Bow Wow, False mirror Office.

We are also always looking for new inspirations from everything around us. We like to think about architecture as a wave , always  renewed.

What is your take on the architectural silhouette?

The architectural silhouette gives scale to the project and is helpful when seeking to contextualize the project through the use of typical Kenyanl fabrics which humanise as well as abstract form.


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What defined the language of representation though which you choose to articulate the project?

Partecipating in a contest , we needed to define our language of representation with the aim to communicate our project in a direct way to impress the jury through intricate, yet few drwaings.


In such a big group how did you work together on the construction of the various images?

Our working group knows no boundaries: two of us live in Italy, two in Spain and two in Germany. We organized ourselves through video-conference meetings. Every 1 to 2 days we reviewed the drawings and spoke about improvements and areas of weakness.

What programs did you use? 

We used Rhinoceros to create  3D models that was the base of drawings and V-ray for Rhino for the visualisations. Then once rendered we used Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to improve colour, add architectural silhouettes, and enhance effects, like shadows and lights in the views. We also used Autocad for the 2D drawings.

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Are you interested in carrying this thesis forward?

We loved it! We are considering starting a fundraising campaign. Even if we do not succeed in implementing the urban plan we would like for the children of the Furaha foundation to live in better conditions.

KooZA:rch©Mariacristina Agnello, Maria Rosario Bruno, Maria Irene Lattarulo, Gianluca Gnisci, Inés Martín-Roldán & Massimiliano Cafagna_06


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