Cosy Residential Houses: How to make the Outdoors Yours.

Cosy Residential Houses: How to make the Outdoors Yours.

Residential house designs should be as comfortable to the users as possible. If the users enjoy the outdoors a lot, then care should be taken to bring in as much out doors into the house as possible.
This is done in several ways.
1. Windows.

Window design

The windows can be designed to be long so as to take the full length of the wall. This brings in a lot of daylight and scenic views of the outside and makes the users feel in touch with the outside.
A good example of this is the Sagana State Lodge which has long windows as the outside wall.
To increase the feeling of being in touch with the outside, the windows should be designed without the frame. A thick structural glass which is strong enough to support itself-6mm thick and above-should be fitted to replace the wall of the house. A sliding glass door can be fitted in between the glass wall.
Cost comparison.
A normal masonry wall costs around KES 1500 per square meter. Plaster and Keying on both sides costs another KES 500 per square meter. Paint on the internal side will cost another KES 300 per square meter. This brings the total estimate to KES 2,300 per square meter.
A structural glass wall including aluminum frame will cost an average of KES 3,300 per square meter including fitting around Nairobi.
The structural glass walling is more expensive by KES 1,000. This is not much considering the advantages of using glass over stone.
There are several advantages-
[a]The house appreciates in value due to the uniqueness.
[b]The house looks more aesthetically appealing.
[c] The quality of internal light is improved.
The disadvantage is that it looks unsafe in that burglars can easily gain access to the house.
A well-laminated glass with an external window film is surprisingly very burglar proof. If a burglar tries to break in through it, the glass does not shatter but bends and caves in to the shape of the blow. This way, the glass prevents any access into the house.
This is why most banks use glass for the external wall because they know that its very secure.
Another disadvantage is that glass looks like it can let in unnecessary heat from the sun. Glass that is well-fitted with a window film prevents the harmful U-V sunrays from over-heating the internal of your house. The window can also be fitted with a tint of your favorite colour.

2. Incorporate an internal Garden.
Your Architect can incorporate an internal garden somewhere inside the building. A space of around 8 meters by 8 meters can be designed inside the building whereby a beautiful flower and rock garden can be created.
If your house is near a river, a part of the river can be creatively diverted to pas right inside the house. In this design, care should be taken to place the path of the river farther away from bedrooms and other habitable rooms to avoid creation of low temperatures in these rooms at night.
A good example of this is a tourist lodge in the Mount Kenya region which has been designed on top of a very deep gorge that has a river flowing several meters below. Guests can enjoy the serene view of the river flowing and the hotel stores cold drinks inside the river. They use a rope and pulley to retrieve drinks which have been cooled by the cold waters flowing below.
Another example is the International Fund for Agricultural Development [IFAD] offices in Soilo, Nakuru designed by

In this design, a beautiful flower garden has been incorporated inside the middle part of the IFAD offices to create a very beautiful view inside while maintaining the scenic outdoor views to the office occupants.

From IFAD offices, nakuru

Frank Gichuhi.
+254 721 410684

Francis Gichuhi (692 Posts)

Architect Francis Gichuhi . B.Arch. University of Nairobi. Registered Architect, Kenya. Member, Architectural Association of Kenya. Contacts. email Telephone +254721410684


  1 comment for “Cosy Residential Houses: How to make the Outdoors Yours.

  1. MM
    February 10, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    Hi Frank,

    I am interested in gaining your expertise to construct a house with an internal garden, I have already got a plan but just need further architectural services. I also appreciate your advice on large structural windows. Can you get in touch with me please I’d like to take this further. Thanks.

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