It’s no secret that Kenya’s coastline has some of the best beaches, cliffs and ocean views East Africa has to offer. Dotted along the shoreline are some magnificent homes, some of which have embraced the coastal surroundings both inside and out; a coastal green roof.
GEA was brought onto the project at an early stage by the architect, to assist with the design of the green roof. A series of modern villas sit perched on the edge of a cliff above a small bay at the Tudor Creek estuary, in an exclusive area looking out towards the Indian Ocean. Ships sailing into Mombasa’s famous harbour can see the local vegetation thriving on the roofs. The villas are somewhat hidden from view as they blend in with the natural surroundings. Native beach vegetation is planted on the villas as local plants will always be the most resilient to the climatic conditions along the coast.
Approximately 85% of the roof surfaces are covered with coastal vegetation, blending the villas into the surroundings and providing lower energy demands for cooling, sound insulation, filtered rainwater for irrigation, creates new habitat and contributes to the spectacular backdrop including extra advantages.
The green roofs in this project are known as intensive green roofs, often referred to as roof gardens. They can be designed to be as complex or simplistic as desired. In this case, they were kept beautifully simple, celebrating its surrounding coastal environment.
Intensive green roofs consist of a deep layer of engineered growing media, typically 150-1500mm deep. As a result of this soil depth there is a greater range of planting available and the roof can be treated very much like a garden landscaped with trees, lawns, flower beds and paved areas. The context of this project and its proximity to the ocean with an almost constant wind demanded for a suitable ground cover to be selected. The obvious choice was the native beach vegetation which required little maintenance and could withstand the coastal weather conditions.
The resulting flat, green-topped roofs withstand the corrosive ocean air and the tropical monsoon elements, blending the exterior with the environment. The design of the modern villas with simple architectural box-shapes and minimalist material palette celebrate its coastal context blurring the boundary between indoor and outdoor living.