For small plots such as the usual 50 x 100 ft or 1/8th acre plots, maisonettes are good in terms of reducing the horizontal spread hence freeing up the ground floor space to enable a lawn.
Assuming a 200m2 luxurious maisonette, the plinth area on the ground can be 60m2 then the building stretches upwards into 3 levels i.e ground floor, first floor and second floor.
Foot print reduction.
A 1/8th acre plot is roughly 450m2 . A 66m2 plinth area building will effectively free up 85% of the ground floor area for a landscaped lawn.
A 100m2 plinth area on ground floor building will use up to nearly 25% of ground space but will only go 2 levels up to make it to 200m2 in total plinth area built up space.
Positioning of the building.
The building should be positioned in such a way that it allows for a feeling of more space within the plot.
In Senegal, most residential buildings usually have a vertical orientation whereby you find a building with the bedrooms in the fourth floor. Now that land in Kenya is becoming scarce and the need to be environment conscious is increasing, we hope to see more of vertical oriented buildings as opposed to the current situations whereby we have bungalows and maisonettes with a foot print area of 100m2 and above.
Francis Gichuhi Kamau, Architect.