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The premise of Lengishu was to embrace the beautiful architecture of Borana Lodge, and give this new home a simple, warm and contemporary feel that connected to the hillside and surrounding lodge. To use, wherever possible, local materials collected from the ranch and build in rammed earth. This was a great opportunity to collaborate with the Conservancy, and excavate a nearby dam site for the clay base material for the rammed earth walls. That dam now serves the wildlife that live in the area, and it is a great feeling knowing that the building stands with the very soil it is bedded into.

We designed the lodge with the MacHale family to create a grand hall served from a back-of-house that is hidden underground, and warm bedrooms that easily linked back to the house. On the very steep location this required some negotiation. The plans agreed and materials decided on, we started digging back and prepared the site for some tactical rock blasting, We wanted to hide the house into the hillside and to use the available material for all the rock we needed for the cladding and stone details of the house.

The design has many flat roofs and to limit the huge amount of concrete required to carry the grass roofs above, we selected old eucalyptus trees for beams and commercially grown pine for the planked slabs that make the ceiling and floor above. All the timber material used was sustainably grown for the timber details, the floors, roofing, beams, doors and windows. The floors were built of stone from nearby quarries, and the walls were finished in earth lime renders.

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