Good Building Envelope

The government of Kenya intends to create 500,000 new home owners through facilitation of affordable housing and a home ownership programme over the next 5 years. This will ensure every working family can afford a decent home. Planned reforms will lower the cost of construction and improve accessibility of affordable mortgages.

A house is a shelter, i.e. a structure that protects from the weather elements, and provides security and privacy. Of all the parts of a house the envelope tops the list of importance. The building envelope is the physical separator between the interior and exterior of a space. Components of the envelope include walls, floors, roofs, fenestrations and doors. Humans first created shelters to provide thermal comfort and protection from natural element. This still remains a primary objective of buildings.

Good building envelopes are responsive to the local climate conditions as well as the socio-economic of the inhabitants. The good envelope should exhibit the following factors low cost, easy methods of construction and maintenance, stability and stiffness, thermal and sound insulation, water-resistance, and aesthetics: that is, texture, colour, shape.

Great neighbourhoods don’t happen by accident. They are the result of careful planning and thoughtful design that creates places that are sustainable, walkable, vibrant, social, and livable which increase the quality of life for residents of all ages and incomes. To accommodate Kenya’s growing population and economy, we need to look to the future and consider how we can build neighbourhoods that reflect the character and values of our Cities.

Brief Preamble:

AAK seeks to foster collaborative working in design via multi-discipline teams presenting an entry for the competition broadly under the 2018 Convention theme of “Dignified Housing for all” and specifically competition sub theme “Good Building Envelope.”

Each team’s submission shall be in two parts,

i) A residential building typology and Neighborhood planning.
Develop cost effective medium density, 60Sqm housing unit that address the growing demand for accessible, affordable, sustainable housing through good quality design and innovative use of building construction methods, materials and technologies.

ii) A commercial building façade concept and detail.

The competition is open to teams comprising students of the seven Chapters of the Association, namely Architects, Engineers, Quantity Surveyors, Landscape Architects, Town Planners and Construction Project Managers and Environmental Design Consultants.

Type of Competition

The Competition is organised as a building and/or planning design project for middle level college and university students. The official language shall be English.

Objectives of the Competition:

  • Sustainable Neighborhood planning and design.
  • Space and form for a housing typology.
  • Scaling of living spaces for a family.
  • Innovative building envelope.
  • Detailed illustration of building components.
  • A theoretical framework as an approach to façade and form design.
  • Multidiscipline teamwork in design resolution

Preliminary Investigations

Teams are encouraged to precede conceptualisation with investigations of relevant case studies, and explanation write up/ video on the existing scenario and intervention approaches.


Interested applicants to register and submit entries via the AAK website, include requested personal particulars, within the time limit set in the competition schedule of activities below. Applications received after this deadline shall not be accepted.

Acceptable formats:

  • PDF drawings/ scanned work (A1 paper size as per the requirements below)
  • Microsoft Word documents/ PDF for essays on A4 papers.
  • Images of physical card model.

Prepare a minimum of any three (3) of the following for adjudication:

  • Architectural and structural drawings i.e. floor plans, elevations,  construction detail of an innovative  building envelope (Mandatory)and perspectives – A1 papers, concept sketches,
  • Descriptive Essays (600-word essays).
  • Construction and/or fabrication cost estimates
  • Videos (interviews, animations and descriptive narrations)
  • Cardboard models on base plane and height not larger than 500mm.


Winning team

Prize money = Ksh 70,000/

1st Runner up

Prize money = Ksh 35,000/

2nd Runner up

Prize money = Ksh 15,000/

All winners get the opportunity to attend the 2018 AAK Convention at Pride Inn Paradise Beach Resort, Shanzu