Anyone visiting International Young Architects in Africa Competition winner Urko Sanchez’s offices in the plush Links Plaza, Nyali, would be surprised to find him and his staff all barefoot! There’s a notice saying it’s an optional choice for visitors.
Sanchez was born and raised in Spain, where he completed his architectural studies (taking 10 years to complete, being interspersed with travel). During his studies Sanchez volunteered on architectural projects with NGOs in several countries. He later settled in Kenya.
After time in Spain on projects like renovating the Real Madrid Football Club and Salamanca Cathedral, Sanchez was drawn to the Swahili structural style.
In 2006, he set up an office in Mombasa, establishing a well-honed multi-cultural team with local and international track records.
The company focuses on quality architecture with a ‘green’ aesthetic, using local materials, natural light, open courtyards, private gardens, wind and solar power, and recycled water – ancient traditions meeting contemporary advances.
This year the office was awarded Best Hospitality and Best Residential Honorable mention by the Architectural Association of Kenya Awards of Excellence.