Kyambura - Savannah Banda's
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Kyambura - Savannah Banda's, Uganda.

Situated on the periphery of Queen Elizabeth National Park in South West Uganda, the Savannah Banda’s (rooms) form the second phase development of Kyambura Gorge Lodge, a newly completed eco tourism venture focusing on wildlife conservation, wetlands restoration and community engagement.

The locally fired bricks, sourced from a number of local communities, each have differing colours, textures and forms. Each of the four Bandas explore a different technique in brick construction and bonding.

The first uses horizontal lines interpreted from the foreground, middle ground and background of the panoramic view over the national park and distant mountains to create stratification defined by different coloured bricks. The landscape is literally drawn through the building.

The roofs are conceived of as oversized shading devices, disconnected from the walls supported by their own structure. They are composed in sequence, like a flock of birds frozen in a moment of flight. The roofs are clad using recycled corrugated iron, collected from surrounding villages in a new for old roof exchange providing new roofs for schools and underprivileged families. The rusty iron is laid across the frame like a patchwork quilt.

The raw surfaces of the natural materials are expressed internally as they are externally. The textured surfaces create a backdrop for found and salvaged objects. Trunks made from recycled metal, sideboards from roadside shops and old chairs that have been mended anew with minimum of effort, leaving traces and scars from previous lives. Remnants of local fabrics found in markets are collaged together with end of line London high street fabrics sent to Africa for resale and distribution, to create bedspreads, curtains and pillow covers. Recycled hessian coffee sacks, paying homage to the sites previous life as a coffee plantation, are patched and sewn together to create curtains.

Inspired by the ingenuity of African ‘up-cycled’ objects, building materials, tools and knowhow, interiors were designed and assembled from a pastiche of locally available materials, furniture, found objects and skills. Nothing is wasted, all broken, waste materials, objects, complete with imperfections and flaws, are utilised and expressed. Whilst such a strategy is sustainable by nature, the context from which it is generated is born from necessity to source locally in remote regions and an inclusive interior design process informed by material availability and skills specific to the local Ugandan craftsmanship.

Natural materials area expressed and contrasted. Varying brick types, hues from local timbers, bamboo and reeds are juxtaposed to create a complex display of depth, light and shadow. Indirect light is allowed to filter through gaps between blade walls and roofs, reed screens are clad cover mosquito mesh to allow dappled light to wash the papyrus matt ceilings. Surfaces are awash with the glow from morning sun and the crimson reds of the Ugandan sunset. During the harsh midday sun, direct light is excluded from interiors spaces by the large overhanging roofs. Carefully placed lighting and splashes of colour are integrated to provide a counter to the earthen tones of the natural materials. Each Banda is prescribed a colour tone inspired by the pastel coloured paints and mud washes used in contemporary Uganda mud huts.

Project Team: Ross Langdon, Campbell Drake, Llatzer Planas.