“Ivy League” External finishes.

“Ivy League” External finishes.

Rahimtulla natural stone finishes

These are external wall finishes that fit within the best of the best in terms of aesthetics.

Ivy growing on wall at the luxurious Blue Posts Hotel in Thika
Ivy growing on wall at the luxurious Blue Posts Hotel in Thika

You will usually find them on walls of 5 Star hotels and ambassadorial residences.

Creeping Ivy.
Natural creeping ivy plant wall finishes are very attractive and help to bring out the natural look in a building.
Ivy plant wall finish at the luxurious Blue Posts Hotel in Thika
Ivy plant wall finish at the luxurious Blue Posts Hotel in Thika

They are suitable for residential houses, offices and hotels.
This can be trimmed to a pattern that has been grooved into the wall to create interesting shapes.
This can be clearly seen on the boundary wall at the Nairobi Serena Hotel entrance.


Creeping Ivy protects the wall surface from the elements of nature such as sun and rain. If the wall cement mixture ratio is not strong enough, the creeping ivy roots might loosen the cement thus weakening the wall so care should be taken to ensure that the correct cement-sand ratio is used on the masonry walling.
This wall finish matches well with a thatch roof.

Elegant thatch roof at  Blue Posts Hotel Thika
Elegant thatch roof at Blue Posts Hotel Thika

River-Sand Pebbles,

River -Sand pebbles external wall finish at Blue Posts Hotel,  Thika.
River -Sand pebbles external wall finish at Blue Posts Hotel, Thika.

Other natural looking wall finishes are river-sand pebbles. These are hand-picked from river beds as river-sand is harvested and stuck on wet mortar on the masonry wall. The external walling of Nairobi Serena hotel is finished with this. This wall finish is easy to maintain and brings out the desired aesthetic appeal.

Cobble –Stones.

Random-sized cobble-stones arranged to interlock each other also form very good external walling. A good example is Mugie Ranch boundary walling in Samburu District.




Mutamaiyu House at the prestigious Mugie Ranch, Samburu
Mutamaiyu House at the prestigious Mugie Ranch, Samburu

Another good example of this is the retaining walling on Rahimtulla Trust towers located in Upperhill area of Nairobi City.
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This kind of walling is very cost –effective if the stones are available nearby. It is labour –intensive since the stones are hand-packed. The stones are packed in two layers to bring out a total thickness of around 450 mm. This thickness ensures stability. For walls shorter than 1.5 meters, the walling can be of uniform width. For walls longer than 1.5 meters, the bottom is wider so that the wall tapers and thins as it goes high so as to provide the necessary stability such as the boundary walling at the Rahimtulla trust towers at upper hill area of Nairobi.
Rahimtulla Trust Towers, Upper Hill, Nairobi
Rahimtulla Trust Towers, Upper Hill, Nairobi

For very long walls such as the Mugie ranch in Samburu, the walls change direction and indent inwards alternatively very three meters so as to provide lateral stability.

Mazeras Slate Stone.

Mazeras slate stone wall is also a good example of a natural out-door finish. The slate stone is mined in the town of Mazeras near Mombassa town. The stone comes in form of a wide late of around 1inch in thickness. The slate is usually around 1.5 meters in length and 1meter in width.
This piece is then hit with a hammer in the middle so that is breaks into smaller pieces of random sizes. These smaller pieces are then stuck onto the wall with cement-sand mixture and arranged according to the random shaped sizes to form a characteristic jig-saw pattern.
They are relatively in-expensive and do not require maintenance once they are laid on the wall.
The Mazeras stones can also be evenly cut by machine into small sizes of around 200mm length and 100 mm height and then polished and stuck onto external surfaces of masonry walls.
A good example of this is the boundary walling of the former United States of America Embassy memorial park at Moi Avenue in Nairobi.

August 7th Bomb blast US Embassy memorial park,Nairobi
August 7th Bomb blast US Embassy memorial park,Nairobi

Frank Gichuhi
www.a4architect.com
+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 info@a4architect.com. Telephone +254721410684


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