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From Landscape to Roofscape | Pavilions for Okana


We are Laura Katharina Straehle & Ellen Rouwendal who graduated in Architecture at Delft University of Technology. The project represents our one-year graduation project at Explore Lab, a studio that offers its students the possibility to elaborate their own theoretic research and design approach according to a specific fascination.

Thanks to extensive experiences with international projects in Africa and India, our fascination lies within architecture for the other 90%. By setting up our own Design-Build-Studio as graduation project we are challenging what if students were able to make a change for poorer regions of the world with a small-scale intervention in architecture?


The research of building techniques, local cultural and construction patterns resulted in the reinterpretation of traditional patterns of inhabitation and the final design. Acquiring funding, managing the follow-up five-month construction phase and having the project leadership on site formed part of the challenge to explore the potentials of a Design-Build-approach on academic level.

Simplicity, low-tech design solutions and an understandable design process are the most significant aspects to communicate and realize the project successfully with the local inhabitants, local workers and international students.


Within less than two years from initial idea to finished construction, the design fulfils its goals towards creating architecture with a strong societal impact on poorer parts of the world. The project was awarded the 1st prize of the Dutch National Archiprix 2017 and selected amongst the 34 worldwide best Design-Build Projects 2017.


Find out what the project is about:

project movie

The project is a collaboration with professors from TU Delft, experts in the field, the Kenyan local NGO Sustainable Rural Initiatives with financial support from private donors, companies, organizations and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation & Development. 


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