Tag: Architecture

The Ultimate Design Solution

Many things come to mind at the mention of Solwezi and the North Western Province: maybe it’s the Likumbi Lya Mize traditional ceremony, the mines or the source of the Zambezi River for some, but for myself, having stayed in Solwezi, dust is what’s synonymous with the town. This is why the town has fondly taken on the moniker, “Kyalo Kya Lukungu” by the local Kaonde people which when translated means, “The world of dust”.


Dust is the greatest constraint when it comes to designing for the outdoor, and is the challenge I faced designing an extension to an existing eatery.

The café is the first shop out of the carpark in a bungalow building, and it is currently made up of a counter, an indoor eating area and a kitchen.

An increase in demand as a result of its close proximity to Kansanshi mine has made the owners opt to increase their supply by way of introducing a fast food service for sandwiches and burgers. A glass box of frozen meats, sauces and bread rolls below a secondary counter was placed in the indoor sitting zone which has since been relocated to the outdoor.

Having a semi-exposed outdoor sitting area as part of the client’s brief, a solution had to be sought for the dust, and in true outdoor design fashion, a vanished timber pergola with creeping ivy plants was realized.

The idea was to have a hedge and creepers warding off dust from all direction while bringing in beauty and nature to this convenience store at the same time.

In the grand scheme of things, this landscape technique proved to be the ultimate design solution.


A Day’s Companion

One would wonder why I was over the moon when I was commissioned to design for a client a coffee bar at their office; it’s because I love coffee but above all else I love a design challenge.


Anyone will tell you that they can hardly go through the day without seeking some form of help to stay active and on alert, especially during peak season when deadlines are flying around from everywhere and anywhere.

My cup of tea is a good cup of coffee (See what I did there?) 🙂

Coffee is thee fix of choice to get me through the day, and having this love of hot beverage as well as an appreciation for the benefits it comes with in the the way of revitalizing the soul, in common with the client, we sought to come up with a product that expressed both our ideas for a perfect space.


For instance, the space had to be divided into zones so as to make it multi-functional, and one such zone is the cabinet and counter-top areas; an appliances counter where the percolator and the coffee tins can go, and a meal counter above stools where users of the space can sit down even just for a few minutes during tea breaks. The cabinets also had to be spacious enough not only for storage purposes but also to fit a small under counter fridge.


The idea behind having a coffee table flanked by two sofas on either side in the center of the room with a bookshelf in the back corner was to basically have a zone where the team could come to for short meetings with their respective clients over a cup of their preferred hot beverage.

A beautifully punctured and vanished brown timber partition was fitted to separate this room from the rest of the office so as to achieve privacy. This was also done in such a way that it acts as a feature wall.


An oil on canvas painting from a local artist was incorporated in the design as an accessory, while a TV screen was also introduced which the client and the team can use to enjoy a game after hours over chilled drinks to complete the space.


Outdoor Living: Day Rooms.

Day rooms can be used in one or two of many and different ways. A few of these options are as a library, a greenhouse, a sitting room or a laundry room.

Illustrated here is a sitting space which acts as an extension of the lounge with cushioned outdoor reed chairs and a timber coffee table.

The Day room almost always has similar features anywhere on the planet; clear roofs, skylights, large windows, shelves, plants, among many others.

The windows and the clear roofing sheets are what bring in light to this little space that would almost always be mistakenly left a room without natural light.

The washing machine sits next to a corner sink on one side and on another rests a stand just enough to accommodate a laundry basket. A laundry line hangs on exposed roof trusses from one end of the room to the other, and this completes the space as a one-part laundry room.

For storage of detergents and other cleaning chemicals, flying shelves hang against a wall above a washing machine and a refrigerator, while potted plants help introduce nature and the outdoor to the room.

The beauty of this little space is that, apart from laundry, the owner has other options, options to either read a book and enjoy a glass of wine, or to entertain.


Unforgettable trips start with Airbnb.“, is what you’ll first come across when you visit this site.

Airbnb.com is a hospitality service site that provides visitors with accommodation options for people to either rent or lease short-term abodes including homestays, holiday cottages, apartments, hostels, hotel rooms or beds. The property is not owned by the site but rather by individuals who list theirs on the site. The site therefore operates as a broker that receives percentage service fees with every booking. Currently, statistics show that the site has over 4 million abode listings in over 65,000 cities and in about 191 countries and has since facilitated over 260 million check-ins.

Among the listings you’ll probably find, from Zambia along Rhodes Park’s Lunzua Road, this beautiful 3 bedroom homestay, fully furnished and decorated to the last detail.

To make it stand out from the rest, the dwelling is painted in weatherproof bright Moroccan spice colors of orange and of yellow for the exterior, while between chains and hanging above the front Patio are potted plants of greens and maroons.

The lounge has a brown leather two-seater with scatter cushions, while a plywood exterior trunk case with an aluminium extrusion has been repurposed as a coffee table.

To the side of the room is a mirror hanging on a wall above a stand with a bouquet of flowers lavished on its surface. A portrait painting of an elephant brings a touch of indigeneity to a space that’s meant to accommodate people from all across the world.

Just adjacent to the Lounge is a Dining area complete with a wooden table and suite chairs made from reed, and a brown vanished timber cabinet to display vases, wine glasses, lamps, candles and stands.

The Hallway might actually be an easy favorite because of its semblance to a museum of sorts filled with opulent accessories. In here are a tall mirror framed by black wrought iron bars between two bedroom doors, an oil on canvas painting of an African bull elephant that threatens to charge at the visitor as they draw closer to the toilet door, wooden wall plaques and white towels folded neatly on hooks near the bathroom door.

In the bedroom are beautifully orchestrated fabrics; neatly laid bed linens with cotton pillows and silk curtains, all in earth tones. Perched in the corner of the third bedroom is a brown study table and a white wooden chair.

On the rear Patio are poolside chairs, reed chairs and a glass table against a background of a view to a beautiful herb garden.

It’s really the little accent pieces which bring together in full circle the dwelling, and the paintings, the reed bulb holders, and the towel hooks pinned onto bedroom doors do just that.

Educating The Motherland 🎓

Chipakata Children’s school is a primary school whose building is dedicated to the memory of Ms Mary Malambo, the mother to the only Zambian female co-founder of the school.

The school is currently funded by an American based international not-for-profit organization with offices in New York City.

The Chipakata campus is based in the outskirts of Lusaka in a cluster of villages called Chipakata from which the school gets its name.

Breathtaking vistas of mountains are what first strike you getting to the school, until the elaborate detail in the design of the school steals your attention as a reveal in an encore fashion. Not only was the organization involved in the design of the school uniforms, it was also involved in the design of the school’s buildings, and ultimately their construction.

From the 7 classes on the campus – with a class serving for each grade – 3 sit under a single high secondary roof canopy while their individual flat primary roofs serve as decks for outdoor lessons during summertime in this sunnier clime, and allows pupils to appreciate the scenery at the same time. While 2 of the 4 classes are covered by a butterfly roof canopy with skylights in one block, the remaining 2 are covered by a flat roof canopy with skylights in another block. Also present is a teachers’s compound, a staff room and a school square.

Efforts in green design have been made and have been achieved in the way of solar energy for power and Ventilated Improved Pits (VIP) latrines for sewage disposal, while a vegetable garden right outside the campus helps empower the local women who sell their produce to the school.

The school currently serves just over 240 pupils with numbers expected to grow in the following years owing to the constant enrollments prioritized by the founding organization as a means of achieving its primary goal of educating Africa.

The observer can’t help but appreciate the minimalist approach to design employed here, as well as the happy smiles on the faces of pupils reassured of a future.

Ultimately, a visit to the school is an experience that leaves you inspired and with questions of what you’d want to do for your own community.

Mostly Shrubs And Trees…


The plot is 80m X 60m in area, overrun by wild grass and wild trees both growing on a relatively flat surface.

A proposed tree garden design had to be developed around two structures; a 3 bedroom house and a cottage both sited at the far end of the plot. Thus, the former in one corner and the latter in the other corner.


Given the size of the plot, the proposed landscape design takes up most of the space than the existing structures.


Since the brief stayed true to the Ecological design philosophy of Give-And-Take between fauna and flora, it was imperative to retain as many trees as possible. Therefore, most of the bigger trees remained so as not to veer too much away from the client’s requirements. The existing natural landscape then had to effortlessly marry in with the proposed design.


The simplicity in design of this landscape lies in the mere use of shrubs and trees therein, with the cosmetic addition of pavers and curbs to define the driveway and parking.

Trees like Palms, Chiaverella, Gold Crest and Rocket were all placed around the site along equidistant rows and equidistant columns. While shrubs like Clotons, Hibiscus and Duranta were placed in between Palms flanking the driveway from the Gate on either side, also as a special feature central of the garden.


For a plot this size, the design wouldn’t have been complete without properly manicured carpets of grass.

Grass was laid on much of the plot’s surface area, with finely sliced and properly vanished tree trunks being used to define walkways in this tree garden. And as the case with most gardens, you reap from what you sow, so an Orchard had to be introduced.


Hence, a generous 20m X 15m patch fit in perfectly with the design overrun by Banana and Plantain plants. Eventually, Papayas, Avocados, Mangos, Lemons and Oranges will have to be introduced so as to make the space come full circle. The design idea with the Orchard was basically to have a Box-Within-A-Box effect in the space.

In the end, what the site lacks in timeless built design, it makes up in this proposed landscape design.

•A Good Time To Finish Up Old Tasks•

We are fresh from the holidays, maybe not literally for everyone depending on how it was spent. While some are highly rejuvenated – these being those who actually managed to travel out – others stayed in for reasons best left to everyone’s guess.

Due to some changes in my plans to travel out of the city, I stayed behind, and this afforded me a perfect time to complete old tasks; like wrapping up longstanding design projects.

For those who travelled out, I imagine you went to a place similar to what I stayed behind to work on. This is a Lodge in none other than the scenic city of Livingstone which is home to the mighty and spectacular Victoria Falls (one of the world’s natural wonders). Sprawling across these grounds are two types of rooms; a Single Suite and a Family Suite.

The Singles Suites dominate the premises in footprint and come in two blocks of 8 apartments apiece with just enough real estate for a bed and a bath. The Family Suite on the other hand comes in one block of just 4 apartments but with ample real estate for a spacious bedroom with a lockable door, a Kitchen and a bath.

In addition, the Supporting facilities are a Bar and a Gymnasium both for recreation and both sit under one roof. While a Restaurant and a Workers’s Station are placed separately and in independent structures.

For the ultimate adventure of taking a dip, a central Swimming Pool was introduced. Central, because that was the only logical way to have all facilities in almost equal proximity. And for privacy, a picket fence in a natural brown finish was placed around.

The layout is set up in such a way that a trip to here recharges the batteries of any holiday seeker who fancies a trip away from the hustle and bustle of the city.