Retreat in Naretoi by The Landscape Studio
A simple landscape intervention for a private retreat in an important conservation zone within Kenya's Masaii Mara National Reserve.
As a studio ethos The Landscape Studio is driven to respect the environment and in doing so create designs which enrich the wider environment.
A new site, requires new exploration. This project is informed by what The Landscape Studio observed in the wider landscape. The local stone; a red brown slate, peals away from the cliffs in a rich strata. This strength in line informed our design. The Landscape Studio used the stone on its edge to ensure a strong long term solution (as it cracks if used flat) and to draw the directional flow of the circulation paths to encourage the user around the exterior spaces.
Being found on the hill above the project, and hand quarried the impact on the wider environment was minimal whilst the local community profited. Above all else it resulted in a beautiful and ethically viable solution.
Re-definition of a landscape space:
Key in meeting a more environmentally sensitive design was the concept ethos proposed to the client. At the heart of this was to propose that as humanity we are part of our wider environment, our needs can be met, but with a sensitivity to the wider fauna and flora. As a concept this is crucial for the sustainability of the planet going forward; that we must provide sufficiently for ourselves but only in a way which allows nature to flourish at the same time. Although the human needs are met, and boldly so with wide strong paths, most of the garden spaces are left for local savannah grasses and perennials which are planted to create a 'garden' space. No species or biodiversity loss was created in the development of this project.
The most exciting element of the planting design in this project is the process. All planting material was sourced sustainably by seed from the local grasslands and grown for the various stages of implementation. The planting as matured fast and frames the bold hardscape elements of the design adding a quiet sense of movement and clarity to the design.
The range of seedeaters visiting the drought tolerant garden not only is exciting but essential in proving that a by using plants that belong on our environment we are able to ensure a complex and enriched wider environment and a healthy ecosystem for humanity and nature, alike. This concept can be illustrated in urban areas as well as conservation zones such as this.
Project: Retreat in Naretoi
Location: Naretoi, Masaii Mara, Kenya
Design House: The Landscape Studio
In Collaboration with: Barneby Ghaui (Project Architect)