Boma Inn, Eldoret

Boma Inn, Eldoret

The Rift Inspired Architecture- Boma Inn, Eldoret

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Initially named as the Red Court Hotel, Boma Inn Eldoret was the name given to the facility after re-branding and expansion of the franchise. The 4-star hotel in the up-market Elgon View area of Eldoret abstracts the Rift Valley with its tensions, shears and water features. Located 13km (15 minutes drive) from Eldoret International Airport, 5 Km (7 minutes drive) from Eldoret city centre and 340 Km to Nairobi Central Business District (CBD), the Boma Inn Eldoret easily stands out as the main hotel and architectural address in the North Rift.

Brief

In 2009, The Kenya Red Cross approached Morphosis Architects for the design, construction and fit out supervision of a boutique hotel following the successful execution of the Boma Nairobi Hotel. The client wanted a conference hotel for both the guests and their personal meetings since conference tourism was picking up in Kenya at the time and the client, Red Cross Kenya also hold conferences regularly. Eldoret is also a fast growing town in the Western Kenya with massive business potential hence it’s a serene and convenient location for business meetings outside the city.

Architect’s Response

Boma Inn Eldoret is the tallest building in its neighborhood surrounded by low level residential houses overlooking rich forested views in the area. The facility is built in the serene suburb of Eldoret whose residents had initially opposed construction of a commercial building in the area but later embraced it due to the value that it added to the neighborhood. Interventions by the client The Kenya Red Cross would then see execution of the timeless masterpiece whose design creates perfect harmony with the surrounding architecture.

Although the neighboring houses are distant, Morphosis Architects tried to focus the hotel building as far away as possible from the homes to offer maximum privacy to the neighbors. Some rooms face the road and rooftops of the neighborhood while the social spaces are focused around the centre where there is a garden and a swimming pool. Orientation of the building ensures that the sun faces the major spaces to provide natural light and heat. The swimming pool is also strategically located to allow the sun’s rays into the pool area thus avoiding shading.

Design

From a study done on Eldoret, the region emerges as a boiling pot of interesting social, historic and physical features like the Great Rift Valley, which inspired the design language. The shifting movement of tectonic plates is symbolized in the cascading levels organized around sunken alternating points. Socially, agriculture is a major social activity in the area hence incorporating the green scenery was typical.

The intention was to create a modern minimalist building by use of materials and colours that blend with the environment. Morphosis Architects chose dark brown as the prevailing colour for a look that would be harmonious to the surroundings. The glass work on the windows, doors and parts of the walls has also been done using tinted bronze thermal glass which helps regulate heat as well as to give privacy to guests in the rooms. This gave the Boma Inn Eldoret a perfect fit within the calm, green residential neighborhood.

Morphosis Architects also played with views to create inter-connecting spaces such that, from the reception, one can see right into the atrium, have a glimpse of the restaurant & bar and also peak into the gym yet still maintaining privacy to the individual spaces. The centrally placed atrium has been designed to serve as a connecting feature to the bar, the conference rooms and accommodation such that one is not restricted to pass through the reception to access either of the areas from within the Boma Inn Eldoret. It is also a feature that brings in the outdoor atmosphere into the Boma Inn Eldoret.

The interior designer maximized on inbuilt features including artistic walls, inbuilt seats and a backlit reception desk. The concept of the line as a design element, in relation to the rift valley fault lines was explored throughout. The feature headboards with grooved lines in the rooms, furniture and fabric selections are all ripped to emphasize on this. The fault line concept has consequently been translated in several other parts of the Boma Inn Eldoret including the counters, pergolas, roof and doors.

Materials

Marble, granite, onyx stone and granito tiles have been used in the public spaces while terrazzo and ceramic tiles used in the back of house areas. The conference area, lounges and the accommodation spaces are all carpeted for acoustics. Exterior walls are cladded with a combination of glass, alucobond and painted plaster. A polycarbonate roof covers at the atrium. Various design features incorporate the use of veneer cladding on walls & ceilings.

The restaurant ceiling is designed with pergolas forming crates, fixed to create an alternating pattern. The doors are made of timber and glass. Solar water heating for the rooms is a key sustainable feature that helps save use of electricity in the building. The large windows in the rooms also ensure enough natural light into the spaces as well as natural ventilation. The Boma Inn Eldoret also uses a combination of LED light fittings and rope lights on the walkways fitted within the gypsum ceiling.

Challenges

Space and location had an impact on the architect’s freedom to explore. The master plan fits a tad the edge of the site allowing only the circulation space by planning regulations. There is no space for expansion horizontally. Morphosis Architects also wanted to build around the existing trees on site but the scale of the project could not allow. They however managed to retain the trees on the boundary wall and planted others in the new landscaped areas.

For the interior design, the main shortcoming was in achieving the required quality of finishes for the hotel as well as abandoned design features initially intended for the Boma Inn Eldoret.

Like many projects, time constraints was a major challenge. There was a two year stall period followed by a limited time frame to fit out and hand over the premises. The project which started in 2009 was completed in 2013.

Capacity

With conferencing as the main drive of the Boma Inn Eldoret, all the spaces are designed to support this key business. The Boma Inn Eldoret offers a choice of five meeting rooms and two executive boardrooms equipped with smart boards, state-of-the-art audio- visual equipment and high-speed internet. The larger conference room can accommodate at least 300pax and the smaller room can accommodate 150 people.

 

The Conference Centre accessed from its own entrance, encompasses a business center, break out areas and a spacious outdoor lounge overlooking the swimming pool where delegates can brainstorm during the session breaks after a long meeting.

The reception opens up into a coffee bar at the atrium which leads to the main bar on one side and the restaurant on the opposite side overlooking the swimming pool. There is also a resident’s lounge within the rooms block. The four storey facility has 68 accommodation rooms including paraplegic rooms, two governor suites and four deluxe rooms.

The health club houses a gym, aerobics studio, a Jacuzzi, steam, sauna & massage rooms. Other amenities include a gift shop, concierge, airport transfers, taxi services, valet parking or self-parking and currency exchange services at the reception among others.

    Project Data

  • Project: Boma Inn Hotel, Eldoret
  • Client: Red Cross
  • Architect: Morphosis Limited
  • Project Manager & QS: Zimaki Consult
  • Electrical Engineers: Servconsult
  • Civil & Structural Engineer: Armitech Consulting Engineers
  • Mechanical Engineers: Edson Engineers

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