• Dalton House / Alberto Morell Sixto

Architects: Alberto Morell Sixto  
Location: Kilifi,  Kenya
Project Team: Nigel Watson (Structural, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering), Danji Naran [Wood Work]
Interior Décor: Alberto Morell Sixto
Project Year: 2015
Photographer: Javier Callejas

Other collaborators: Tomás Muñoz, José María Ordovás, Jorge Reinlein
Site supervision: Alberto Morell, Raúl Gantes.
Builder: Nigel Watson, Anderson Ngumbao.
Area: 3 ha (site), 342 sqm (built area), 94 sqm (urbanization)
Materials: Concrete in structure, coral blocks in walls, and stucco as finish.


Sometimes architecture is as simple as a sigh, yet portent like the cause of the sigh. It takes a particular process, an integral compounded and labored effort to realize something like that...therein lies the irony. When opinion and fact are blurred and sentiments reserved albeit later shared.

Dalton House / Alberto Morell Sixto

That is perhaps what the Dalton House in Kilifi, Kenya's secondary coastal town gently whispers, with white washed walls and controversial modernity, perhaps an attempt at taking the Swahili typology a step further, a personal interpretation not necessarily a by the book one at that,. And that is the beauty of architecture, that within each and every thought, within each and every stroke, and within each and every detail, there is a story, there is a struggle and above all, there is renaissance.

Dalton House / Alberto Morell Sixto

From the Architect:
From three acres of land, the house is placed in the area situated between the sea entrance in the coral cliff, and the back part of the mangrove. Thus, the house opens to the Indian Ocean on the upper floor and coincides with the mangrove on the ground floor. This position between the entrance of the sea and the back of the mangrove ensures natural ventilation in this Kenyan coast with a humid and warm weather.

Dalton House / Alberto Morell Sixto

The project idea begins on following the original topography from the low level, where the entrance of the house matches the mangrove, to the platform situated on the high level, matching the cliff. In this high part of the topography you have the horizon view of the Indian Ocean, framed by the cliff entrance. The transit from the bottom to the top is made by a staircase of 9.90 meters wide, a journey made by nature before building the house.

Dalton House / Alberto Morell Sixto

The sea entrance in the cliff determined the width of the stairs and the width of the house courtyard. This courtyard has a small sweet water pool and connects the ground floor and the upper floor. There is no other communication between both floors but this stairs. So in this way we can say we have two overlapping idea houses in one; the courtyard-house downstairs and the platform-house upstairs. 

Dalton House / Alberto Morell Sixto

The common areas are established on the ground floor; the living and dining room, the kitchen and the guest rooms. On the top floor we can find three small apartments with a little kitchen and bathroom in each of them. The house is built from the cheapest local materials. Thus, the structure –columns and slabs- are built in concrete, and the space in between the structure is filled with small coral stones acquired in the nearest local quarry. The finishes of floors, walls, stairs, shells, etc. are made in stucco, called Lamu finish by the native people, a very clean, soft and resistant finish.

Dalton House / Alberto Morell Sixto

All carpentry, doors and windows are made of mahogany two inches thick. They are carved following a geometric pattern of the mosaics from the Alhambra Palace of Granada, Spain. This pattern has had an important influence in some Muslim buildings of this Swahili area in Kenya.

Dalton House / Alberto Morell Sixto

The interior space is configured with screens or diaphragms to establish a continuous and compartmentalized spaces. This type of space is typical of the ancient Swahili architecture used in the Kenyan coast, as well as in the Muslim architecture of every part of the world.

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WHAT OTHERS THINK SO FAR

James

James Moya

Lovely project, but one of the images does not belong to this project (the one with the pool on the very large plane). It s from another project from Campo Baeza.

SELECTED WORKS

CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN DIRECTORY