Practice Profile

Urban Savannah Design Studio (USDS) is an award winning Nairobi-based design studio providing a full range of architectural and urban design services.Our practice is focused on creating buildings, places and moments which have a distinct character. Ongoing projects include an Aircraft facility in Dar es salam -Tanzania, a Teppanyaki restaurant on Kwale island-Zanzibar, a Winery in Naivasha - Kenya,  Serviced  Apartments in Nyali - Mombasa, refurbishment of a 1950’s Farm house in Juja, a children’s play ground in Karen and a green gated residential development in the leafy suburbs of Karen.

USDS aims to achieve excellence in design through creative dialogue with our clients, consultant teams, contractors and end users. Architectural innovation is cultivated in the office through research into materials, construction techniques and the cultural context of each project.




What we do

USDS is an architecture and planning company; with the aim to create positive sustainable built environments. 

The focus of the company is on architectural design: the conceptualization, planning and design of both urban and rural places.  We design from the understanding that the quality of our environment has a direct and substantial impact on the quality of life of those who use that environment.

We believe that, through attaining a balance between conserving and enhancing the environment, and achieving the commercial requirements of development, we are able to create special places that add value both to the developer and to our societies at large.

Our projects include new development, regeneration and  public space making.  The nature of our projects vary from new commercial,mixed use and residential developments, to agricultural estate planning.

We have a particular interest in producing quality projects at all levels of society, we believe good design should be accessible to all!


How We Work

USDS is committed to delivering excellent value and achieving high quality projects through innovation in construction, programme and cost.
Our approach to all projects, regardless of scale or budget, is to gain a clear understanding of the objectives and vision of our clients. We invest time and energy collaborating within the office, with our clients and specialists to identify opportunities and explore a range of options to arrive at the optimum solution.
Fundamental to our approach is the belief that the optimum solution is often the simplest. This has resulted in projects that have clear, legible and efficient designs whilst at the same time are exciting and enjoyable.

Our standard work stages are as follows:

1.       Inception
2.       Concept Design [or Master Planning]
3.       Final Schematic Design [ Statutory Planning Permission]
4.       Detailed Construction Design
5.       Tender Action & Site inspections


Selective Design Approach

USDS uses simple yet effective modelling tools to analyse the environmental performance of our designs. We are able to analyse the information that these models provide, using expertise in both architecture and environmental design, to deliver architecture which maximises the potential of sites to meet the needs of clients and occupiers with the least impact on the local environments.

USDS ‘in-house’ understanding of environmental design enables us to expolre renewable energy and passive control strategies relative to our architectural designs.

"We believe there is beauty in simplicity, in clarity, in efficiency. True simplicity is not  the absence of clutter or ornamentation; it's about bringing order to complexity." 


Professional affiliations:

·         AAK (Architectural Association of Kenya)
·         BORAQS (Board of Registered Architects and Quantity Surveyors)
·         RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects)


Some Collaborators:

·         Edifice Construction & Management Services (Nairobi, Kenya)
·         Kevin Fellingham Architects (London, UK)
·         Arphenotype (Koln, Germany)
·         Simon Takaski Architecture & Design (Berlin, Germany)
·         Planning Systems Services (Nairobi, Kenya)
·         Symbion International (Nairobi, Kenya)


Some Consultants:

·         YMR Integrated Partnership - Quantity Surveyors (Nairobi, Kenya)
·         Marks & As - Quantity Surveyors (Nairobi, Kenya)
·         Engplan Engineers - Structural/Civil Engineers (Nairobi, Kenya)
·         Batiment Engineers - Structural/Civil Engineers (Nairobi, Kenya)
·         Buiding Services Group - Services Engineers (Nairobi, Kenya)
·         Sanix Consulting Engineers (Nairobi, Kenya)

Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility (CSER)

“As a young local professional office, we progressively seek to develop our performance in Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility (CSER). We work to contribute positively to society through the built environment and invest in our relationships with a wider community. We also consider how we engage with our clients and collaborators to ensure that we conduct our business ethically. We are proud of our progress so far, but we are committed to fully realizing our vision.”

- Karuga Koinange , Managing Director

Kenya Architect | Urban Savannah Design Studio - Profile