Buruburu housing project: A post occupancy evaluation study
Odwallo, Jarette O
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Since Kenya gained its independence in 1963, new residential-estates and renovations have been planned, designed constructed and occupied. Yet, to date, very few of these developments have been evaluated against the housing needs of residents and developers to avoid replicating past mistakes or improve on successful projects. There is no official requirement to evaluate the projects against user needs. The designer it has been assumed knows what the client needs. Though Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) has nearly a forty-year history, in Kenya it has not been widely practiced and welcomed. This study seeks to explore the correlation between design shortcomings and the changes and extensions done by the residents of Buruburu estate. It is a post occupancy survey of the estate investigating' the success of the original intentions of the design team against the present situation on the ground. The author has endeavored to identify and isolate the spatial and physical changes made by the users through empirical studies, observations and personal interviews with the residents. A literature review of the current developments in Post Occupancy Evaluation has formed the framework under which the research has been carried out. The author recognizes the invaluable contributions of influential critics' such as Wolfgang F.E. Preiser, C.C. Marcus, Alice Coleman, Oscar Newman, and J F Turner and selectively applies most of their ideas in the assessment of the project. Buruburu estate is one of the earliest and largest estates in Kenya allowing for a wide variety in study. The project architects; MMI have been singled out for scrutiny and I . must beg their indulgence for the one-sided questioning of their original design intentions. Time has a great influence in determining the success of any project. It is now twenty-two years since the completion of the Buruburu project, its present state could be due to factors the designers, and planners would not have envisioned. This study intends to illuminate the need for designers, developers, planners, government housing officials and policy makers to be connected with the feelings, needs, wishes and priorities of the users. The expressions of these requirements are well evidenced by the bold attempts seen in the changes done by owners and users of these buildings despite strict regulations and byelaw requirements by the local authorities.