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THE STREET IMAGE

AN URBAN ANALYSIS OF NKRUMAH ROAD, MOMBASA

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

THESIS DECLARATION:
This is my original work and has not been presented for the award of a degree
in any other university.
Signed:........................................................................................
Maseghe Tairo Martin - Registration Number B02/0267/2003
The thesis is submitted in part fulfillment of the university examination for the
degree of Bachelor of Architecture of the University of Nairobi.
Signed:......................................................
Adnan Mwakulomba Abdi - Tutor
Signed:.........................................................
Erastus Omil Abonyo - Year Coordinator
Signed:.................................................
Kigara Kamweru - Chairman, Department of Architecture and Building
Science, University of Nairobi, Kenya.

II

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

To my mom, Eva Makafui Tairo and Dad, Aggrey Mazdin Maseghe.

III

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
In the course of my investigation, I have incurred many debts of gratitude and I
cannot possibly acknowledge all of the support and the indebtedness but this is
my chance to at least try.
Firstly, to the love and support of my family; beloved mum, dad and sisters Mary
and Vicky for your steady encouragement, moral and financial support, and to
the love of my life, Kathambi for always being there for me. We are this far
because of the faith that we live.
In the course of my research, I have built up intellectual relationships of which I
could not have dreamed of. I would like to thank the lecturers in the Department
of Architecture and Building Science, at the University of Nairobi: My tutor
Adnan Mwakulomba Abdi and year master, Erastus Omil Abonyo for their
diligent guidance. I owe as much to all the other lecturers in the department.
Like most scholars, I was inspired by precedent research and documentation in
the course of my investigation. I could write much about all of those authors
whose published work influenced my thinking, but I hope that the list of
references truly reflect what I learnt from them. I am also very grateful to Said,
the Kenya National Museums Mombasa Librarian and Tabitha, the University of
Nairobis Department of Architecture and Building Science technologist for
according me all the help and support I needed.
I acknowledge the support and criticism from my friends in academic and nonacademic circles. To my classmates Kimmy for all the help and support, to
Waggz for always being willing to sort out our computer troubles and the rest of
my buddies for a time well spent together.
Whilst every effort has been made to acknowledge all contributions, the point is
clearly made that those whose help has made this study possible are in no way
responsible for the views expressed or its shortcomings.

IV

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

Table of Content:
Cover Illustration...................................................................................................I
Thesis Declaration...............................................................................................II
Dedication...........................................................................................................III
Acknowledgements............................................................................................IV
Table of Contents................................................................................................V
Chapter One: Proposal........................................................................................1
1.1
Introduction....................................................................................1
1.2
Problem Statement........................................................................1
1.3
Aims and Objectives......................................................................2
1.4
Scope and Limitations....................................................................3
1.5
Significance of the Study................................................................3
1.6
Research Methods.........................................................................4
1.7
Structure of the Research Paper....................................................6
Chapter Two: Urban Study Methods....................................................................7
2.1
Urban Study Theories....................................................................7
2.2
Methodology for an Urban Study of Nkrumah Road....................12
Chapter Three: Urban Analysis of Nkrumah Road............................................15
3.1
Historical Analysis of Mombasa...................................................15
3.2
Visual Analysis of Nkrumah Road................................................25
3.3
Legibility Study of Nkrumah Road................................................46
3.4
Summary of Findings...................................................................62
Chapter Four: Conclusions and Recommendations..........................................65
4.1
Conclusions..................................................................................65
4.2
Recommendations.......................................................................68
Chapter Five: References..................................................................................70
5.1
Published Sources.......................................................................70
5.2
Unpublished Sources...................................................................71

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

Chapter One: Proposal


1.1

Introduction

Before the twentieth century, cities were better in terms of legibility. Important
places were well articulated and looked important. This was achieved by
having the largest open spaces relating to the most important public facilities.
Places of the greatest public relevance could be easily identified as they stood
out from the rest.
The legibility of the modern city however relies on the principle that buildings
cannot lie; this is seen through the position occupied by large companies with
financial muscle, they own the largest, most imposing buildings which occupy
key city centre positions (Figure 1.1). Such structures, which are highly
irrelevant of how people use the cities, visually overwhelm publicly relevant
places and facilities thus confusing important activity patterns. In addition,
important public buildings and publicly irrelevant private ones often look alike
worsening the confusion.
This research focuses on Nkrumah Road on the contemporary part of
Mombasa and evaluates the legibility of its environment at the levels of physical
form and activity patters.
1.2

Problem Statement

Nkrumah Road, which runs approximately one kilometre East from its junction
with Digo Road, Nyerere Road and Moi Avenue to Fort Jesus Museum, is a
street of major significance in Mombasa due to its function and the nature of
activities it hosts.
Figure 1.1: TSS Towers at the centre of Mombasa CBD.
Despite this building having less public relevance to the
residents of Mombasa, it occupies an important location and is
highly imposing, reflecting the financial muscle of the owners.
Source: Author.

Despite its seemingly strong character and prominence, it suffers from


underutilization as other streets viewed as less prominent seem more
successful as having images that users can easily identify such streets with.

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

It is with this background that this research ventures into a legibility study of
Nkrumah Road (Figure 1.2) and identifies the aspects that make it prominent
and investigates whether these have been utilized to the maximum in an
attempt to make the street more legible to its users. The street has been
visually analysed and then studied under the formal elements of paths, nodes
and landmarks as described by Kevin Lynch in the Image of the City.
1.3

Aims and Objectives

The main objective of this study is to carry out an analysis that would determine
the legibility or otherwise of Nkrumah Road with the view of identifying forces
that influence development along the street as well as predict the future of its
urban fabric.
Figure 1.2: An image of Nkrumah Road as it approaches the
Treasury Square. This street is the subject of study. Source:
Author.

Before the evaluation of the urban qualities of Nkrumah Road, a historical


review of the form of Mombasa urban setting is done with an aim of assessing
its impact on the current urban form. This is an attempt to determine how the
current urban setting may have evolved.
The urban qualities of Nkrumah Road are then evaluated through a visual
analysis and a legibility study in accordance with the methodology developed
from various urban study methods.
Finally, conclusions are arrived at on the image of Nkrumah Road and
recommendations are made on how this could be enhanced in later
developments along the street so as to maximize its legibility potential and
increase its prominence in the minds of the users.

Figure 1.3: The NSSF building plaza, an open space adjacent


to Nkrumah Road which changes the spatial quality of the
street at this point. Source: Author.

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

1.4

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

Scope and Limitations


1.4.1

Scope

The research paper is limited to a discussion of urban design concepts with


particular focus on the following
I)
II)

A generic overview on the imageability of a city and its formal elements


A discussion on the above elements in relation to Nkrumah Road in
Mombasa.
1.4.2

Limitations

Nkrumah Road is exceedingly expansive and complex owing to its general


structure and form comprising of elements from the late 1800s up to date. An
in-depth analysis of the entire street would involve far much more than can be
adequately covered within a thesis. The author has therefore chosen to dwell
on the concepts of urban design around which the image of the street evolves.
The analysis is also limited to the effects of physical, perceptible objects despite
knowledge of existence of other influences on imageability, such as the social
meaning of an area, its function, its history or even its name. These are only
glossed over.
1.5

Significance of the Study

This study is largely an urban analysis of Mombasa and specifically a visual and
legibility analysis of Nkrumah Road. The analysis adds to the already existing
studies of Mombasa and may thus set the basis for further research in this
coastal city.

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

Mombasa is also the second largest city located off the Kenyan coast. It is the
centre of the Kenyan Coastal tourism industry and the main entry port to Kenya.
Its rich historical background and current cultural and architectural diversity
makes it a very unique and interesting city to study.
The study brings to the fore the characteristics of Nkrumah Road that make it
more prominent to the minds of observers and thus improves the image of the
street. It then analyses the success or otherwise of these unique
characteristics, thus assessing the legibility of Nkrumah Road with an aim of
forming a basis for future developments within the study area.
1.6

Research Methods
1.6.1

Literature Review on Published Materials

Urban study methods that are core in this study have originated from various
books and have been compiled with a view of developing a framework for the
study of Nkrumah Road. These books include:I)
II)
III)

Urban Design: Methods and Techniques by Moughtin C. et al


Image of the City by Lynch K.
Responsive Environments: A Manual for Designers by Bentley I. et al

Several critical books and documents have aided in the provision of background
information on Mombasa and, to some extent, Nkrumah Road. These
documents include:I)
II)
III)
IV)

Mombasa: The Friendly Town by Jewel J. H. A.


The 1926 Mombasa Planning Scheme
The 1962 Mombasa Master Plan
The 1971 Mombasa District Physical Development Plan

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

1.6.2

Literature Review on Unpublished Materials

This includes contributions from papers generated both as academic research


material as well as from professional consultancy, precedent thesis papers on
urban design elements of a city image and research papers on current trends in
planning and design urban centres. Of particular interest were the following
papers:I)
II)

Munyua A. (1999), Discerning the Urban Design elements in Nairobi


Birol G. (2004), An Alternative Approach for Analysis of Traditional
Shopping Spaces
1.6.3

Internet Sourcing

Much of the published and unpublished material is sourced from the internet
resource; these include all support documentation and articles unavailable
locally, graphic representations in form of photographs and drawings of existing
case towns as well as icons of relevance in urban design and planning.
1.6.4

Visits to Mombasa Town

Official calls to the town will include documentation of Nkrumah Road as it


exists; this will provide information regarding the status of the street, its
structure, its layout, its size and the functions it accommodates. This in turn is
aimed at aiding an evaluation of the streets image in context, enabling an in
depth grasp of the real concerns affecting the image of the street and the
possible solutions or means of intervention to address the issues so unveiled.

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

1.7

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

Structure of the Research Paper


1.7.1

Chapter One: Proposal

This chapter introduces and gives a background of the study discussing the
aims and objectives of this study, its significance, its scope and limitations and
the various research methods utilised in the study. It also gives a summary of
the structure of the research paper.
1.7.2 Chapter Two: Urban Study Methods
This chapter examines various methods of analysis of urban spaces. It looks at
the various theories developed by different urban design experts including
Kevin Lynchs image of the City, Bentleys Responsive Environments and
Moughtins Townscape Analysis in Urban Design Methods and Techniques. It
then formulates a method for the urban analysis for the study of Nkrumah Road
which has been used to develop chapter three of this paper.
1.7.3 Chapter Three: Urban Study of Nkrumah Road
This chapter presents an urban analysis of Nkrumah Road according to the
methodology developed in chapter two. A historical analysis is done followed by
a visual analysis and a legibility study in that order. A summary of the findings of
the urban analysis is also presented.
1.7.4 Chapter Four: Conclusions
This section of the Research paper outlines relevant conclusions logically
deduced from the study and the recommendations regarding the future
development of Nkrumah Road.
1.7.5 Chapter Five: References

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

Chapter Two: Urban Study Methods:


2.1

Urban Study Theories

Some critical theories investigating spatial values in cities that have been
studied in this report include; Image of the City by Lynch (1960), Responsive
Environments by Bentley et al (1985), and Urban Design Methods and
Techniques by Moughtin et al (1999). They are summarized in the tables
below:Author & Title

Key Issues Noted


I)
II)
III)

Public image of a given city is evaluated in terms


of identity, structure and meaning.
Design can enhance or adversely affect mental
adaptation of an individual to any situation.
The components that aid in orientation in a city are
paths, edges, districts, landmarks and nodes.

Component Description
Transportation routes of the city.
Most common points from which the city
is experienced. Prominence of paths in
increased by:-

Kevin Lynch - Image


of the City (1960)

Paths

Figure 2.1: Image of Nkrumah Road, a street which is the subject of


study. Source: Author.

I)
II)
III)
IV)
V)
VI)
VII)
VIII)

Customary travel through it.


Concentration of special use.
Characteristic spatial qualities.
Proximity to special features.
Facade characteristics.
Pavement texture.
Details of planting.
Visual exposure.

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

Author & Title

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

Key Issues Noted


Component Description
They are linear elements providing
boundary between two phases. They
maybe penetrable or not and hold
together generalized areas of a city.
Edges

They are uniting seams rather than


isolating barriers thus strong edges are
not necessarily impenetrable.
When an edge is also a path, the
circulation image dominates.

Figure 2.2: A view of Old Town, Mombasa, which has characteristics of


a district. The unique identity of the district is due to its surface finishes,
open spaces, building type and details. Source: Author.

They are large areas that have enough


identity to be named and are conceived
as having an extent which a person can
mentally enter into.

Kevin Lynch - Image


of the City (1960)

Districts

Figure 2.3: A view of the buildings along Nkrumah Road showing a


distinctively different characteristic from those in the Old Town District.
Source: Author.

The following thematic continuities are


key in determining the identity of a
district:I)
II)
III)
IV)
V)
VI)
VII)
VIII)

Texture
Space and form
Details
Building type
Distinct use or activity
Inhabitants
Degree of maintenance
Topography

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

Author & Title

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

Key Issues Noted


Component Description
These are points that require extra
attention from the observer and can either
be a junction of paths or concentration of
some characteristics.
Nodes

Kevin Lynch - Image


of the City (1960)

Figure 2.4: Treasury Square along Nkrumah Road. This is one of the
nodes along the street at its junction with Makadara Road. Source:
Author.

Landmarks

Bentley I. et al
Responsive
Environments
(1985)

Figure 2.5: Giant Elephant Tusks along Moi Avenue are the citys most
famous land mark: two pairs of crossed tusks created as a ceremonial
arch to commemorate the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953. Source:
Author.

Nodes are mostly junctions since


decisions have to be made at junctions,
people heighten their attention at such
points and perceive nearby elements with
more than normal clarity.
It is a prominent structure or geographic
feature that identifies a location and may
serve as a guide to finding it. It could
either be a building, sign, stone or even
mountain.

There are key qualities which, once achieved in design


of buildings and outdoor spaces, will make places
responsive. These qualities include but are not limited
to the following:I)
II)
III)
IV)
V)
VI)
VII)

Permeability
Variety
Legibility
Robustness
Visual Appropriateness
Richness
Personalization.

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

Author & Title

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

Key Issues Noted


Quality

Description

Permeability

This is the availability of a large number


of alternative routes within an
environment.
The key to accessibility of an environment
is in the choices it offers.
This means the range of uses that an
environment can be put to.

Variety
Figure 2.6: Nkrumah Road can also be said to be a robust environment
as it offers more than a single use. The building above houses both a
commercial and a residential function to its users. Source: Author.

Bentley I. et al
Responsive
Environments
(1985)
Robustness

Visual
Appropriateness

Richness

It is a key supporting quality to


permeability as easily accessible
environments are irrelevant unless they
offer a choice of experiences.
It describes environments which can be
used for many different purposes and
thus offer their users more choice as
compared to environments whose design
limits them to a single use
It's a quality describing environments
which are interpreted as having meanings
that help people aware of the choices
available in terms of alternative routes
and range of uses.
It is a quality that increases the choice of
sensory experiences that a user can
enjoy. At this level, the smallest details of
the environment are considered.

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The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

Author & Title

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

Key Issues Noted


Quality

Legibility
Bentley I. et al
Responsive
Environments
(1985)
Figure 2.7: An image of part on Nkrumah Road showing how a user has
used paving tiles to personalize this environment to their own taste and
style using tiles of different shapes and colours. Source: Author.

Description
It describes the ease with which the
quality of an environment can be easily
understood. The formal elements
described by Lynch (1960) are the main
features that impact on legibility. These
include:I)
II)
III)
IV)
V)

Paths
Nodes
Districts
Landmarks
Edges

It's the ability of a person to put a unique


Personalisat- stamp in their own environment. This has
been necessitated by the fact that most
ion
people live and work in environments
designed by others.

Moughtin et al Urban Design


Methods and
Techniques (1999)

Survey techniques for moderate to large projects have


been discussed aiming at building an analytical
framework for future sustainable development. These
techniques have been discussed under the following
sections:I)
II)

Historical Analysis - Offers a basis for


conservation and promotion of ideas compatible
with a developing culture
Townscape Analysis - Tackles issues of urban
legibility, permeability and visual analysis

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The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

2.2

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

Methodology for an Urban Study of Nkrumah Road:

Based on the various urban design methodology illustrated in the table above, a
summary of the key points is presented in order to guide a comprehensive
urban analysis of Nkrumah Road. This study takes into consideration the crosscutting variables in the different literature and attempts to adapt them to the
area of study. With this, the study hopes to create a methodology that is
comprehensive enough to adequately cover the area of study.
Attempt to figure out the urban structure of Mombasa during the
Islamic period from the statements by explorers who visited
Mombasa and writers on Mombasa during the period. These
include Ibn Batuta, Dom Francisco and Duarte Barbosa among
others.

Figure 2.8: The Captains House which was a very important building
during the Mazrui period. Such aid in hinting at the state of the urban
form during this historic period. Source: Mombasa: The Friendly Town.

Historical
Analysis of Inventory of notable buildings from the Portuguese period to the
Nkrumah
colonial period in the mid twentieth century, with a bias in the
Road
colonial period during which notable developments along the
current Nkrumah Road took place.
Note the issues tackled in the various master plans and
development plans of Mombasa.

Visual
Two
Base maps of
Analysis of
Dimensional
Nkrumah Road
Nkrumah
Study
Road

Nollis map of Rome (1748)


as a basis. In this map,
buildings are represented
with black while streets and
opens spaces are white.
Gibberds alternative where
buildings are white while
streets and open spaces are

12

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

Study of enclosure of public


spaces along Nkrumah Road
Sections and
elevations along
Nkrumah Road.

Roofline of building along


Nkrumah Road
Study of ground floor spaces
along Nkrumah Road

Three
Dimensional
Study

Figure 2.9: A ground perspective of Nkrumah Road. Photography has


been greatly utilised in the visual analysis of Nkrumah Road. Source:
Author.

Visual
Analysis of
Nkrumah
Road

Study of street corners along


Nkrumah Road
Study of ground floor spaces
Ground Perspectives along Nkrumah Road
Study of points of weak
connections along Nkrumah
Road
Aerial Perspectives

Study of the general


character of spatial
composition

Study of the general surfaces that enclose public


spaces. These include building walls surface
finishes and openings.
Study of
Study of the materials used to finish the paved
Architectural surfaces
Details
Study of the materials used to finish the paved
surfaces
Study of the general character of open spaces and
streets.

13

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

Study of the intensity of use of Nkrumah Road as a


path

Paths

Study of the different functions of Nkrumah Road


and identification of any which is highly
concentrated within the street
Study of the Nkrumah Roads proximity to special
features that are of great relevance to the residents
of Mombasa
Study of the different spatial qualities of Nkrumah
Road

Legibility
Study of
Nkrumah
Road

Nodes

General functions and uses of the


Streets forming street
the nodes
Importance of the streets to the
residents of Mombasa
Buildings
around the
nodes

General functions of the buildings


and their public relevance
General character of the buildings
in terms of details and finishes

A brief historical analysis of the landmark in terms of


construction and function
Landmarks

A study of the landmark to determine its


classification (whether it's a building or otherwise)
A photographic study of the landmark showing its
initial and current state
A study of the functions and uses of the landmark if
any

14

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

Chapter Three: Urban Analysis of Nkrumah Road


3.1

Historical Analysis of Mombasa


3.1.1 Overview

Various authors have categorised the history and transformation of Mombasa


into different periods. Jewell J. H. A. in his book Mombasa; The Friendly Town
has classified the history into the Pre-Islamic, Early Islamic, Height of the
Islamic Culture, Portuguese, Mazrui, Al Busaid, British and Independence
periods.
The first three periods have had a fair share of literary zeal expended on them
about which virtually nothing is known. Fairly documented history dates from
the Portuguese period.

Figure 3.1.1: An image of Mbaraki Hinawy Street taken in the


1890s when the Old Town was growing. Seen at the end of the
street if the minaret of Mandhry Mosque. Source: Mombasa:
The Friendly Town, Jewel J. H. A.

PERIOD
Height of the Islamic
Culture. (AD 1200 to
AD 1500)

DATE
1331

The history has been analysed on the basis of accounts given by different
people who visited Mombasa or wrote about it during the period under study.
Some of the periods specified above are however not mentioned as the
historical information they contain is more of human activities rather than that of
urban structure of Mombasa at that time.

STATEMENTS
Mombasa was a large city abound with
bananas, lemon and citron. It had well built
wooden mosques whose inhabitants were of
the Shafite Sunni sect of Islam.

REMARKS
There was abundant food (banana,
lemon and citron)
Well built wooden structures existed.

Ibn Batuta describing his visit to the Coast.

15

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

PERIOD
The Portuguese
Period (AD 1498 to
AD 1698)

DATE

STATEMENTS

1505

Dom Francisco describes Mombasa as;


A very large town lying on an island from
one and a half to two leagues round. The
town is built on rocks on the higher part of
the island and has no walls on the side of the
sea, but on the land side, it is protected by a
wall as high as the fortress. Some of the
houses are three storeyed and all are
plastered with lime. The streets are very
narrow so that two people cannot walk
abreast in them. All the houses have stone
seats in front of them, which makes the
streets yet narrower.
Captured by G. S. P. Freeman Grenville in
his book The East African Coast,
When they entered the town, they found that
some of the houses had been deserted as a
result of the fire they set. Further on, they
found three storeyed houses from which
stones were thrown at them. But the stones
which were thrown fell against the walls of
the narrow streets, so that much of the force
of their fall was lost. There were also many
balconies projecting over the streets under
which one could shelter.

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

REMARKS
There existed three storeyed houses
plastered with lime.
Houses had stone seats in front of
them.
The streets were narrow.

The houses were three storeyed.


Houses had balconies that could
provide shelter to passers by.
The streets were narrow.

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The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

PERIOD
The Portuguese
Period (AD 1498 to
AD 1698)

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

DATE

STATEMENTS/MAJOR SHIFTS

1517 to 1518

Duarte Barbosa, writing of the coast said this


about Mombasa;

Houses were made of good quality stone


and mortar.

Advancing along the coast towards India,


there is an isle hard by the mainland on which
is a town called Mombaca. It is a very fair
place, with lofty stone and mortar houses, well
aligned in streets after the fashion of the
Quiloa. The wood is well fitted with excellent
joiners work. This is a place of great traffic
and has a good harbour.

The houses were well aligned along the


streets.

1593 to 1597

REMARKS

Woodwork was done with excellent


workmanship.
there was a good harbour and many
people in the town.

The construction of Fort Jesus was


undertaken during this period.
Fort Jesus is a massive and impressive
landmark to the Southern end of Old Town
which was built in an attempt to consolidate
Portuguese hold on the beat harbour along
the Coast.
Figure 3.1.2: An image of Fort Jesus taken in the 1950s.
Source: Mombasa: The Friendly Town, Jewel J. H. A.

Mandrhy and Barsheikh mosques were


constructed at around the same time time that
Fort Jesus was built.
These mosques are still standing today.
Figure 3.1.3: An image of Mandrhy Mosque taken in the
1950s. The image omits the landmark minaret of the mosque.
Source: Mombasa: The Friendly Town, Jewel J. H. A.

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The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

PERIOD
The British Period
(AD 1820s onwards)

DATE

MAJOR SHIFTS

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

REMARKS

1824 to 1826 Several public works projects that had an


influence on the urban fabric of Mombasa
were carried out at this time. The notable ones
which exists to date include Leven House and
the Leven Steps.
Figure 3.1.4: An image of the Leven Steps as they are today.
The steps lead up to the Leven House from the Indian Ocean.
Source: Author.

1890

The first railway line, a small gauge track, was


laid inland for seven miles

This track improved the transportation of


people and cargo within the island
increasing efficiency.

Mombasa Memorial Cathedral and Bishops


house were constructed in this year.
Figure 3.1.5: An image of the Mombasa Memorial Cathedral
taken in the 1950s. Source: Mombasa: The Friendly Town,
Jewel J. H. A.

1891

The first telegraph connecting Mombasa to


Malindi and Lamu was laid.

This improved the speed of


communication and thus its efficiency.

18

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

PERIOD
The British Period
(AD 1820s onwards)

DATE
1892

MAJOR SHIFTS

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

REMARKS

The Catholic mission was officially opened


and a church capable of hosting 400 people
was built. It is still in use today as a bookshop.
Figure 3.1.6: An image of the Holy Ghost Cathedral as viewed
from Nyerere Road taken in the 1950s. Source: Mombasa:
The Friendly Town, Jewel J. H. A.

1895

Work begun on what was to become the


Kenya-uganda railway. It reached Nairobi in
1899 and Kisumu in 1901.

1896

Mombasa club was founded and was moved


to its current location at the approaches of Old
Town Mombasa.

This was a major shift that accelerated


the growth of the city.

Figure 3.1.7: An image of the Mombasa club as it was in the


1950s. Source: Mombasa: The Friendly Town, Jewel J. H. A.

19

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

PERIOD
The British Period
(AD 1820s onwards)

DATE
1900

MAJOR SHIFTS

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

REMARKS

Mombasa Railway Station was built at the


current Treasury Square.
Figure 3.1.8: Image of the first Mombasa Railway station that
was located at the current Treasury Square.

1902

The Law Courts, built on the hill between Old


Town and Treasury Square was officially
opened.
Figure 3.1.9: The High Court building which is currently
housing part of the Kenya National Museum of Mombasa.
Much of the building is in its original state except for the
interiors that were renovated to accommodate the new
functions. Source: Author.

1906

The Treasury Building was put up and the


Government Square was moved from Old
Town to Treasury Square.
Figure 3.1.10: Treasury building which is currently the District
Commissioners office. Source: Author.

20

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

PERIOD
The British Period
(AD 1820s onwards)

DATE
1926

MAJOR SHIFTS

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

REMARKS

First comprehensive planning scheme for


Mombasa was developed and tackled the
following main issues;1. Pooling and redistribution of land into
regular shaped plots.
2. Establishment of road reserves.
3. Zoning rules locating industrial/nonindustrial zones and providing a maximum
density rule limiting number of dwellings to 20
dwellings per acre.
Figure 3.1.11: An image of what was to become the
contemporary part of Mombasa taken in the early 1900s.
Source: Mombasa: The Friendly Town, Jewel J. H. A.

Development of deep water births at Kilindini


and with this, business focus shifted from the
Old Port area.
Shipping industry moves out of Old Town and
business begins to shift towards its present
location along Moi Avenue, Digo Road and
Nkrumah Road.
Figure 3.1.12: An image of the Kilindini Harbour that was
taken in the mid 1900 right after the construction of the port.
Source: Mombasa: The Friendly Town, Jewel J. H. A.

21

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

PERIOD
The British Period
(AD 1820s onwards)

DATE
1930s

MAJOR SHIFTS

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

REMARKS

Major construction work was done as the


contemporary part of Mombasa grew. One
notable building is Oriental House which was
constructed at the junction of Nkrumah Road
and Mwenye Aboud Road in 1936.
Figure 3.1.13: Oriental House located along Nkrumah Road.
Source: Author.

Kaderbhoy Building which was built in the


same style as that of Oriental House was also
constructed in the 1930s. this building lies
opposite Oriental House along Nkrumah Road.
Figure 3.1.14: Kaderbhoy House located along Nkrumah
Road. Source: Author.

Currently known as the Palm Tree Hotel, this


building was also constructed in the 1930s. It
located next to Kaderbhoy Building along
Nkrumah Road.
Figure 3.1.15: Palm Tree Hotel buildign located along
Nkrumah Road. Source: Author.

22

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

14.
15.
17.
18.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.
26.
27.
28.
32.
33.
34.
35.
36.
37.
38.
39.
40.
42.
44.
45.
46.
68.

Rex Hotel
Carlton Hotel
Manor Hotel
Ralli House
Catholic Church
Labour Department
Native Civil Hospital
H. M. Customs
Queens Cinema
Barclays Bank
Netherland Bank
PWD
Oriental Building
Mombasa Cathedral
National Bank
Standard Bank
Treasury Gardens
Municipal Office
Education Department
General Post Office
European Hospital
Government House
Bank of India
Bank of Baroda
Fort Jesus
Mombasa Club
Palm Court Hotel

Figure 3.1.16: A map of Mombasa drawn


in 1950 by S. L. Patel showing Nkrumah
Road, then known as Fort Jesus Road
with its surrounding streets and
buildings. Most of these buildings exist
to date some still carrying the same
functions. Source: Seif Bin Salim Library

23

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

PERIOD
The British Period
(AD 1820s onwards)

DATE
1962

MAJOR SHIFTS
A new Master Plan was developed with a
comprehensive long term development
scheme. The issues tackled included:-

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

REMARKS
The development of Mombasa was
pegged on this master plan in an attempt
to tackle the issues raised.

1. Upgrading of transportation and roads.


2. Suggestions for improved housing.
3. Upgrading of several areas in Mombasa.
Post Independence
Period (1964
onwards)

1971

A draft physical development plan was


Improvement of infrastructure
prepared whose main aim was to look at ways
of improving the urban fabric and
infrastructure.

1971 to date Major constructions also took place during this


period. Some of the notable buildings that
were put up after independence include the
General Post Office Building along Digo Road
and NSSF Building and Ambalal House which
are both along Nkrumah Road.
Figure 3.1.17: The NSSF House located along Nkrumah Road
that was constructed in the 1970s. Source: Author.

24

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

3.2

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

Visual Analysis of Nkrumah Road


3.2.1 Nkrumah Road

Nkrumah Road runs east from Mombasas CBD towards Old Town. It stretches
approximately 750m and its joins with Moi Avenue, Digo Road and Nyerere
Road to the Western edge and Mbaraki hinawy Street and Makadara Road
towards the Eastern edge.
Figure 3.2.1: Holy Ghost Cathedral located at the junction of
Nkrumah Road and Nyerere Road. Source : Author,

Before the development of Kilindini Harbour which led to a shift of business out
of Old Town, Nkrumah Road was a four foot dirty road that was surrounded by
forest and bushes. Periodically, a lion or leopard would be spotted along the
road.
It is currently a major street in Mombasa well known for its unique character of
hosting majority of the banks in the city. These banks include the Central Bank
of Kenya, Kenya Commercial Bank, Cooperative Bank of Kenya, National Bank
of Kenya, Consolidated Bank of Kenya and a myriad of other private banking
institutions like Habib Bank, Gulf African Bank, Dubai Bank, Bano of India and
Family Bank among others.

Figure 3.2.2: Kenyatta University, Mombasa campus located


along Nkrumah Road. Source : Author,

Other publicly relevant facilities along this street include Dcs office, City Hall,
Treasury Square Gardens, Kenyatta University, Holy Ghost Cathedral and
buildings like NSSF Towers and Ambalal House which, albeit privately owned,
accommodate functions which are publicly relevant.
3.2.2 Overview
This analysis has three main parts.

Figure 3.2.3: Central Bank of Kenya, Mombasa branch located


along Nkrumah Road at the Treasury Square. Source : Author,

(I)
(II)
(III)

A two dimensional study of surfaces that enclose public space.


A study of three dimensional public spaces.
A study of architectural details which give special character to an area.

25

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

3.2.3

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

TWO DIMENSIONAL STUDY

MA

KA

DA

RA

04
02

05

NYE
RE
ROA RE
D

06

07

NKR

UMA

02
38

08

09

10
11

H RO

12 13

14

25
21

ET

36

34

33

KAUNDA AVENUE

TRE
INDA

NI S

35

TREASURY
SQUARE

22
15

16

17

18

19

26

20
28

NKRUMAH ROAD
32

31

01

ROAD

23

AD

37

MIK

01

COAST GIRLS
HIGH SCHOOL

MGOMANI LANE

03

24
MAH
NKRU

MWAGOGO ROAD

02

BAL
UCH
I RO
AD

DIG
ROA O
D

AD

01

39

RO

29

27

TREASURY
SQUARE
GARDENS

30
Figure 3.2.4: Map of Nkrumah Road
showing the location of buildings and open
spaces along the street and the other major
and minor streets adjoining Nkrumah Road.
Source: Geomaps (Modified by author)

NKRUMAH ROAD - LOCATION OF BUILDINGS AND OTHER MAJOR AND MINOR ROADS
26

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

Buildings Along Nkrumah Road

Figure 3.2.5: Stanbic Bank House. Source : Author.

Figure 3.2.6: Taiyebi House (left) and Kenya Cinema (right).


Source : Author.

Figure 3.2.7: Kaderbhoy Building. Source : Author.

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.

Stanbic Bank House


TSS Towers
Electricity House
Makena House
DL Building
Faiz Pharmacy Building
Taiyebi House
Kenya Cinema
National Bank House
Barclays Bank House
Hassanalis Building
Furaha Plaza
Cooperative Bank House
Oriental Plaza
Charterhouse Bank House
Najat Plaza
Habib urich Bank House
Consolidated Bank House
Mixed Use Building 1
Mixed Use Building 2

21.
22.
23.
24.
25.
26.
27.
28.
29.
30.
31.
32.
33.
34.
35.
36.
37.
38.
39.

Kenyatta University Campus


Central Bank of Kenya
Standard Chattered Bank
Bank of India
Kenya National Museums
District Commissioners Office
City Hall
Kenya Commercial Bank
DHL
Mombasa Memorial Cathedral
Fort Mansion
Kaderbhoy
Citi Group
New Palm Tree Hotel
Telkom Exchange
NSSF
Mombasa Water Company
Ambalal House
Holy Ghost Cathedral.

Figure 3.2.8: Citigroup (left) and New Palm Tree Hotel (right). Source : Author.

27

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

TWO DIMENSIONAL STUDY

02

01
02

01
Figure 3.2.9: Map of Nkrumah Road, prepared in
the format of the map of Rome by Nolli (1748)
depicting the streets and open spaces as voids
and buildings in solid black. This map shows the
external public spaces and their connection with
the main internal spaces of churches and other
buildings used by the public along nkrumah
Road. Source: Geomaps (Modified by author)

NKRUMAH ROAD - RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN BUILDINGS AND OPEN SPACES/STREETS


28

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

TWO DIMENSIONAL STUDY

02

01
02

01
Figure 3.2.10: Map of Nkrumah Road, prepared in
an alternative format suggested by Gibberd
depicting the streets and open spaces as solid
black and buildings as voids. Nkrumah Road has a
large percentage of space which is open but some
of it is private and earmarked for development.
Source: Geomaps (Modified by author)

NKRUMAH ROAD - RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN BUILDINGS AND OPEN SPACES/STREETS


29

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

Points of Weak Connection:


Figure 3.2.15

Figure 3.2.16

Figure 3.2.17

Figure 3.2.18

Figure 3.2.15: A map of Nkrumah Road and a series of images showing the points of weak connection along the street. Mombasa Water Company offices (Figure 3.2.16) are
completely blocked off the street by the use of high walls. The NSSF plaza (Figure 3.2.17) has been fenced with a visually permeable fence which allows for visual connection but
blocks physical access. Mombasa Memorial Cathedral (Figure 3.2.18) has a similar fence. Source: Author.

30

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

3.2.4 Enclosure of Public Spaces(Streets):

Figure 3.2.12: Nkrumah Road at a low enclosure point between Oriental House and Kaderbhoy. Refer to
Section 01-01. Width to Height ratio of 1:1. Source : Author.

ORIENTAL
HOUSE

ELECTRICITY
HOUSE

AMBALAL
HOUSE

KADERBHOY
HOUSE

Figure 3.2.11: Nkrumah Road at a high enclosure point


between Ambalal House and Electricity House. Refer to
Section 02-02. Width to Height ratio of 1:2. Source : Author.

Figure 3.2.13: Section 01-01. Width to Height ratio of 1:1.


Source : Author.

Figure 3.2.14: Section 02-02. Width to Height ratio of 1:2. Source : Sketch by author.

31

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

Roofline of buildings to the North of Nkrumah Road:


Figure 3.2.43

10

20

30M

Figure 3.2.44

1. Stanbic Bank House


- 2 floors.
2. TSS Towers - 13
floors at its tallest wing.

Figure 3.2.45

3. Electricity House - 11 floors).


4. Makena House - 6 floors
5. D. L. Building - 2 floors.
6. Faiz Pharmacy Building - 3 floors.

Figure 3.2.46

7. Taiyebi House - 4 floors.


8. Kenya Cinema Building - 3 floors.
9. National Bank of Kenya Building - 3 floors.

10

11

12 13

Figure 3.2.47

10. Barclays Bank of Kenya Building - 2 floors.


11. Hassanalis Building - 3 floors.
12. Furaha Plaza - 7 floors

14

15

16

17 18 19

Figure 3.2.48

13. Co-operative Bank of Kenya Building 3 floors.


14. Oriental House - 3 floors.

Figure 3.2.49

15. Charterhouse Bank Building - 2 floors.


16. Gulf African Bank Building - 2 floors.
17. Habib Bank Building - 3 floors.
18. Consolidated Bank Building - 4 floors.
19. Mixed Use Building 1 - 2 floors.

32

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

The General Character of Spatial Composition: Figure 3.2.19

33

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

The General Character of Spatial Composition: Figure 3.2.20

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

Figure 3.2.19 (previous page): The Treasury


Square is a wide open space which opens up
from a narrow section of Nkrumah Road. This
is a dramatic shift in spatial character which
gives this space a unique characteristic.
The square is largely hard landscaped with a
parking space at the centre of the square.
This hard surface has however been
countered with the plants and lawns at the
treasury Square Gardens.
The image of this square is prominent due to
its rich history, its mix of functions and details
of the surface finishes. It is a popular spot in
Mombasa city.
Figure 3.2.20: Image of Nkrumah Road as it
approaches Old Town (Fort Jesus). This
stretch is unique due to the character of its
enclosure. Whereas most of the street is
enclosed by buildings, this stretch has a thick
plant enclosure which compliments the hard
landscaped road and pavements.
The buildings along this stretch are old
colonial buildings put up in the early 1900s.
They are grandiose and raised from the street
level to increase their prominence. One such
building is the old law court which is currently
the Mombasa Museum.
Image source: Author.

34

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

The General Character of Spatial Composition: Figure 3.2.21

35

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

The General Character of Spatial Composition: Figure 3.2.22

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

Figure 3.2.21(previous
page): A birds eye view
image of Nkrumah Road
at the area around NSSF
building and its
surroundings. This is the
point at which the street is
widest and the space is
enhanced by the plaza
outside the NSSF building
which has attempted to
introduce some form of
soft landscaping and
plants.
Figure 3.2.22: A ground
level image of Nkrumah
Road taken from a point at
which the street is widest.
Here, the street is a dual
carriage with plants in the
middle. At the NSSF
Buildings side, there is an
open plaza fronting the
building.
This whole space is
largely hard landscaped
with traces of plants at the
centre of the street and
the NSSF Building park.
Image source: Author.

36

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

The General Character of Spatial Composition: Figure 3.2.23

Figure 3.2.23 is an aerial perspective of the NSSF Building Plaza. This park
creates less enclosure on the open space around the buildings but has a weak
connection to the street as there is a fence in between. This fence, though
visually permeable, discourages people from using that space as it increases
the sense of privacy of the space.
In addition to the weak connection, the plaza is hardly used as the edges of the
flower beds which people would normally use to sit on have spikes which make
them uncomfortable as a sitting space (Figure 3.2.24).
The character of the space brought about by the mix of colours and choice of
material makes it interesting and more prominent in the minds of users. It is a
breathing space as most of the street right before and after it is highly
enclosed.

Figure 3.2.24

Image Source: Author.

37

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

The General Character of Spatial Composition: Figure 3.2.25

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

Figure 3.2.25: Image of


Nkrumah Road towards the
Treasury Square. At this
point, the street has a low
enclosure as the buildings
average three floors high.
This is a unique
characteristic of the street at
this point.
The street is narrower at this
point as compared to other
points. The surfaces are
hard landscaped and there
is complete lack of trees
except as the street
approaches the Treasury
Square. Pedestrian
walkways are covered by
canopies of the buildings.
Most of the buildings fronting
the street at this point are of
colonial style and were
constructed between 1920
and 1950. They have a
similar character in terms of
form and building materials
used. This gives this part of
the street some prominence.
Image Source: Author.

38

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

NKR

H RO

AD

NYE

RER
E

UMA

MWENYE ABOUD
ROAD

ROA
D

BAL
UCH
I RO
AD

3.2.5 Surfaces Enclosing Public Spaces:

AD

O
HR

MA

U
KR

NKRUMAH ROAD
Figure 3.2.26

Figure 3.2.27

Figure 3.2.28

Figure 3.2.29

Figure 3.2.30

TSS Towers:

Electricity House:

Makena House:

Taiyebi House:

Walls-Granito &
Ceramic tile finish.
Openings-Tinted
glass for shading.

Walls-RC plastered
and painted.
Openings-Glass &
concrete shading.

Walls-RC
Openings-Glass
Building still under
construction.

Walls-RC with plaster and paint.


Openings-Glass with concrete
shading.

Figure 3.2.31

National Bank of Kenya


Building:
Walls-concrete and masonry
with a paint finish.
Openings-Glass windows

Figure 3.2.32

Figure 3.2.33

Figure 3.2.34

Barclays Bank Building:

Oriental House:

Kenyatta University Campus:

Walls-concrete and
masonry with a paint
finish.
Openings-Glass windows

Walls-Masonry with a plaster and


paint finish.
Openings-Glass windows.

Boundary wall-Masonry with a


plaster and paint finish. Concrete
paving with flowers along
pedestrian pathway.

Figure 3.2.35

Figure 3.2.36

Central Bank of
Kenya:

Standard Chattered Bank


Building:

Concrete walls with


glass openings.

Masonry walls with a plaster


and paint finish. Glass
openings with sun shading.

39

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

Paved Surfaces:

Figure 3.2.37: Coloured concrete paving tiles along


part of the pedestrian walkway. This colour gives this
part of the street some prominence to the pedestrians.
Source: Author.

Figure 3.2.38: At a point along the street, some flowers


and lawns are used to soften the monotonous
concrete paving tiles. This gives a unique character to
this part of the street. Source: Author.

Figure 3.2.39: Cabro concrete paving tiles have


extensively been used especially at the plaza outside
Fort Jesus Museum. These tiles with their unique
patterns give the space an interesting character.
Source: Author.

Figure 3.2.40: A retaining wall and staircase outside


the old law courts (under conservation). The old coral
finish gives this space an ancient outlook. Source:
Author.

Figure 3.2.41: Concrete paving tiles with a mix of


colours at the plaza of NSSF Building. This mix in a
unique pattern with the combination of plants
enhances the park character of this space. Source:
Author.

Figure 3.2.42: The plaza at Fort Jesus Museum is


paved using Mazeras Stones. The irregular pattern of
the joints is a unique shift from the rectangular paving
tiles utilised in other parts of the street. Source: Author.

40

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

OR

OAD

3.2.6 Street Corners:


Corner 1: Located at the junction of Digo Road and Nkrumah Road. The
building along this corner is the Stanbic Bank House (Figure 3.2.51). Other than
a diagonal chamfer on the side of the building facing the corner, the attitude of
the buildings towards the corner is poor, with most of them having barriers
preventing access to the road.

DIG

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

Figure 3.2.51

ELECTRICITY
HOUSE

STANBIC TSS
NKR

UMA

H RO

AD

Corner 2: Located at the junction of Mikindani Street and Nkrumah Road. The
building along this corner is the Ambalal House (Figure 3.2.53). Treatment of
this corner is relatively better as a shops on the ground floor of this building
have oriented their entrances towards this corner.

MIKIN

DAN

I STR

EET

AMBALAL
HOUSE

HOLY
GHOST
CATHEDRAL

Figure 3.2.52

Figure 3.2.50

Figure 3.2.53

41

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

3
NSSF
PLAZA

COOP
BANK

NKRUMAH ROAD
TELKOM

NEW PALM
TREE HOTEL

CITI
GROUP

ORIENTAL
HOUSE

MWENYE
ABOUD
ROAD
CHARTER
HSE

BARCLAYS
BANK

KAUNDA
AVENUE

NATIONAL
BANK

FURAHA

Street Corners:

KADERBHOY
HOUSE

NKRUMAH

FORT
MANSION

ROAD

MOMBASA
MEMORIAL
CATHEDRAL
Figure 3.2.54

Corner 3: Located along Nkrumah Road at its widest point. It is surrounded by


National Bank Building (Figure 3.2.56), Barclays Bank Building, Telkom
Exchange and NSSF Plaza. Barclays Building has responded positively to the
corner by placing its entrance facing it (Figure 3.2.57). The NSSF Plaza has
also enhanced the character of space at the corner. The National Bank Building
and Telkom Exchange have completely ignored the corner.

Figure 3.2.55: Citi Group Building at the junction of Kaunda


Avenue and Nkrumah Road. It responds positively to the
corner. Source: Author.

Figure 3.2.56: National Bank Building along Nkrumah


Road. It does not respond positively to the corner. Source:
Author.

Figure 3.2.57: Barclays Bank Building along


Nkrumah Road. It responds positively to the
corner. Source: Author.

42

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

Corner 4: Located at the junction of Nkrumah Road and Kaunda Avenue, this
corner is surrounded by Citi Group Building, Cooperative Bank and Kaderbhoy
House (Figure 3.2.58). Both buildings at the corner have oriented their
entrances towards the corner making it more prominent. The wall finish of the
Citi Group Building with its unique colour combination and form has also
enhanced the image of the space, making it more memorable to the users
(Figure 3.2.55).

Figure 3.2.58: Kaderbhoy Building at Corner 4. This building


has responded positively to the corner by orienting its entrance
towards it. Source: Author.

Figure 3.2.59: Charterhouse Bank Building at corner 5 has


responded positively to the corner using its entrance and
unique mix of colour on its walls. Source: Author.

Corner 5: Located at the junction of Nkrumah Road and Mwenye Aboud Road,
the main buildings around it are Oriental House and Charterhouse Bank
Building (Figure 3.2.59). This is an extensively used corner as Mwagogo Road
connects Nkrumah Road to Makadara Road. Both buildings have responded
positively to the corner by orienting their entrances towards it. The wall finishes
and play of colours on the surfaces of the buildings has also increased the
prominence of this corner making it more memorable to the users (Figure
3.2.60).

Figure 3.2.60: Corner 5 showing Oriental House and Charterhouse Bank Building. Oriental House has
oriented its entrance towards the corner. Its design and mix of colours has also enhanced the image of the
corner. Source: Author.

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3.2.7 Ground Floors:


Most buildings have internal courts which are however not linked to the main
streets in any way with the exception of a few which have alleyways. Most of
these courts are not visible at all. However, some have made an attempt to link
their ground floors to the streets using entrances and shop windows. Other
buildings can be described as having dead areas as their frontages do not
generate any activity at all.

Figure 3.2.62: The ground floor of Ambalal House along Nkrumah Road. The ground floor has been well
linked to the main street by allocating activity generating roles to the ground floor spaces of the building.
Here, many retail shops have attracted large numbers of people. Source: Author.

Figure 3.1.61: An alleyway connecting the internal court of


Furaha Plaza to Nkrumah Road. Source: Author.

Figure 3.2.63: Ground floors of Faiz Pharmacy Building and Taiyebi House along Nkrumah Road which
have also generated activity at their ground floors by allocating user friendly roles to the spaces at this
level. Source: Author.

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Figure 3.2.64: the Old Law Courts Building along Nkrumah Road has a very poor
connection to the street. Its ground floor has been raised high above the street level
probably as a show of power. this intimidates pedestrians at this spot. The building is
also far off the street line. Source: Author.

Figure 3.2.65: Barclays Bank Building which, although located at the street line, has
roles which don't generate activities at its ground floor. Its ground floor is also raised
off the street level making it less friendly to pedestrians. Source: Author.

Figure 3.2.66: Consolidated Bank Building along Nkrumah Road. Despite having a role
that generates less activity at its ground floor, its large openings connect the interior
spaces to the street visually making it more friendly to pedestrians. Source: Author.

Figure 3.2.67: A Mixed Use Building along Nkrumah Road. other than having
pedestrian friendly roles at its ground level, it has opened up its interior spaces to
the street using large openings generating more activity. Source: Author.

45

The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

3.3:

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

Legibility Study of Nkrumah Road:

Nkrumah Road has been found to be one of the most prominent streets in
Mombasa. This study identified the following characteristics as having greatly
contributed to the prominence of this street:I)
II)
III)
IV)
V)
Figure 3.3.1: People customarily use Nkrumah Road to access
the different publicly relevant activities which are located along
the street. Source: Author.

VI)

Many people customarily use this street as it is a major link between Old
Town and contemporary Mombasa.
The street has no obstacles as it is wide enough with adequate parking
spaces, well designed junctions and convenient turning points.
The street has a concentration of bank and other financial institutions
and this activity has made it very prominent.
The street has varying spatial qualities with some points having large
enclosures while others having smaller enclosures.
The street has a close proximity to special features and buildings within
the city of Mombasa which are of greater public relevance.
The street has a unique facade characteristic with a mix of old colonial
architecture and the contemporary modern architecture.

Figure 3.3.2: Nkrumah Road is popular with motorists also as it has ample parking space. The street is also wide enough and has properly designed junctions and roundabouts
which are convenient for many drivers. Source: Author.

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3.3.1 Nkrumah Road and the Banking Industry:


Figure 3.3.5

Stanbic BankStanbic Bank


Building

Fina BankDubai BankAmbalal House Taiyebi House

Figure 3.3.6

Figure 3.3.7

Figure 3.3.8

National BankNational Bank


Building

Barclays BankBarclays Bank


Building

Coperative Bank- Citigroup BankCooperativel


Citigroupl Bank
Bank Building
Building

Nkru

Balu
c

hi R

TSS

Road

Figure 3.3.10

Figure 3.3.11 Figure 3.3.12

Guardian Bank- Charterhouse


Oriental House BankCharterhouse
Bank Building

Stree
dani
Mikin

Figure 3.3.20

Habib Bank
Limited-Fort
Mansion

Figure 3.3.13

Figure 3.3.14

Figure 3.3.15

Figure 3.3.16

Figure 3.3.17

Figure 3.3.18

Gulf African
Bank-Gulf Bank
House

Habib Bank
Zurich-Habib
bank Building

Consolidated
BankConsolidated
Bank House

Central Bank of
Kenya-Cental
Bank building

Standard
Chattered
Bank-Standard
Building

Bank of IndiaBank of India


building

DC

Figure 3.3.19

ad

o
hR

CBK
ma

ru
Nk

KCB

mah

Figure 3.3.9

Mwenye Aboud Road

Figure 3.3.4

oad

Figure 3.3.3

Nkrumah Road

Treasury
Square
Gardens

KCBCommercial
Bank Building

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oad

Mwenye Aboud Road

3.3.2 Nkrumah Roads Proximity to Special Features in Mombasa City.

Balu

chi
R

TSS

Nkru

Road

While studying the special features


at close proximity to Nkrumah road,
emphasis was given to buildings
and spaces that have a greater
public relevance and as such, they
attract large numbers of people.
They include; The Holy Ghost
Cathedral, Mombasa Memorial
Cathedral, Treasury Square and
gardens, City Hall, District
Commissioners office and Fort
Jesus.

m
kru

CITY
HALL

TREASURY
SQUARE &
GARDENS

dani

MOMBASA
MEMORIAL
CATHEDRAL

Mikin

HOLY GHOST
CATHEDRAL

ad

o
hR

FORT JESUS

Nkrumah Road

Stree
t

mah

CBK

OF DC
FI s
CE

Figure 3.3.22

Holy Ghost Cathedral

This is the
centre of the
Catholic
mission in
Mombasa. It is
the oldest
Catholic church
in the city and
is located at a
major node
where it attracts
large numbers
of people.

Figure 3.3.23

Memorial Cathedral

This is the
oldest
Anglican
church in
Mombasa
located at a
site near
Treasury
Square. It is
also a major
public place
that attracts a
lot of people.

Figure 3.3.24
Treasury Square & gardens

Figure 3.3.21
This is a major
node and open
space with
parking and a
garden where
people can relax.
It is surrounded
by the DCs
office, City Hall,
KCB, Standard
Bank and the
Central Bank of
Kenya.

Figure 3.3.25

City Hall

Offices for the


Mombasa City
Council. This is
the administrative
arm of the city
that runs the
different
departments of
the city. It is a
highly relevant
building to
members of the
public.

Figure 3.3.26

Fort Jesus

An old
Portuguese
port built
between 1593
to 1596. It is
currently under
conservation
and is also the
National
Museum of
Kenyas
Mombasa
office.

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3.3.3 Spartial Qualities


Point of highest enclosure long the
street. It is between Electricity House
and Ambalal House. At this point, the
street is narrow and buildings very tall
creating an unpleasant enclosure.

ORIENTAL
HSE

KADERBHOY
HSE

BARCLAYS
BANK
NATIONAL
BANK

ELECTRICITY
HSE
TSS
STANBIC

NSSF
HSE

AMBALAL
HSE
COAST
CAR
PARK

HOLY
GHOST
CATHEDRAL
Figure 3.3.27: A three dimensional model of a section
of Nkrumah Road. Source: Author.

This is a point of average enclosure.


The building heights have been well
matched to the street width. Although
this space has not been enhanced
using plant materials, it is more
desirable compared to the point of
highest enclosure.

Point of lowest enclosure along the


street. This is between the NSSF House
and National Bank Building. NSSF
plaza enhances the spatial quality of
this space making it more desirable.
Presence of plant material also increase
the prominence of the space.

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3.3.4 Nodes and landmarks


MA

KA

DA

MWENYE ABOUD ROAD

DIGO
ROA
D

Stanbic
bank house

Electricity
house

NYE
RER
E

ROA

Node 01
NKRU
Holy ghost
cathedral

Landmark
01

MAH

RA

National
bank house

ROA

Ambalal
house

Barclays
house

Node 02
Nssf

buil
plaz ding
a

Oriental
house

AD

AH
KRUM

ROAD

Landmark
03

Dc

Node 04

Fort jesus
museum

of

fic

CHARTERHOUSE
BANK HOUSE

Node 03
Kaderbhoy
house

Node 05

RO

AD

NKRUMAH RO

Mombasa
memorial
cathedral

City hall

Treasury square
gardens

Landmark
02

Figure 3.3.28

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The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

NODE

STREETS

BUILDINGS

Node 1:

Moi Avenue - The main link to


Kilindini harbour, the chief port of
Mombasa and the region.

Figure 3.3.29: Stanbic Bank House


- Has a banking hall and offices for
the bank. The building also has an
Automated Teller Machine and is
frequented by members of the
public since it has a canopy
sheltering people from rain and
sunshine.

Nkrumah Road - Main link to Old


Town Mombasa and Fort Jesus
Museum. This street also has a
concentration of banks.
Nyerere Road - The main link to
the Likoni channel which is the
gateway to South Coast and
Tanzania.
Digo Road - An important
commercial street at the centre of
Mombasa CBD.

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

Figure 3.3.30: Holy Ghost


Cathedral - One of the earliest
churches in Mombasa, it is a
notable Catholic church located at
this node. At the time of its
construction, this vast area was a
big forest. It draws large numbers
of people on weekends for
weddings and church services.
Figure 3.3.31: Fontanella Building This is a popular bar and
restaurant located at this node. It is
one of the many restaurants
owned by Little Chef Company. It
draws large numbers of people
everyday especially during meal
times and in the evenings. As a
result, the node remains a hive of
activity until late when the
restaurant closes.

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The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

NODE
Node 1:

STREETS

BUILDINGS
Figure 3.3.32: Commercial Building
- This building which is also at the
node has a mixture of shops and
offices. It also draws a notable
number of people who visit the
shops or offices.

Node 2:

This node is at the junction of


Nkrumah Road and some two
streets, one leading to the Coast
Car Park and the other to the
dispensary at the Makadara
Grounds.

Figure 3.3.33: Barclays Bank


Building - It has a banking hall and
offices for the bank staff members.
The bank also has an Automated
Teller Machine at the building. This
building is however not pedestrian
friendly since it has no canopy for
shelter and its ground floor is not
open to the street.

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

Figure 3.3.34: National Bank


Building - This building has a
banking hall and offices for the
bank staff members. The bank
also has an Automated Teller
Machine at the building. This
building is also not pedestrian
friendly since it has no canopy for
sheltering people and its ground
floor is also not open to the street.

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The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

NODE

STREETS

Node 2:

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

BUILDINGS
Figure 3.3.36: Telkom Exchange
Building - This is a single floor
building that currently has no
activity. It is locked and has even
run down. People tend to avoid it
due to the filth that has developed
around it.
Figure 3.3.37: NSSF Plaza - This
building and open spaces are
probably the only ones enhancing
this particular node. The plaza is
well paved with a few plants and it
is a space that people frequent
most. It is a popular meeting point.

Node 3:

This node is at the junction of


Nkrumah Road and Mwenye
Aboud Road.
Mwenye Aboud Road is an
important interconnection between
Nkrumah Road and Makadara
Road and it is also one of the main
gateways to the Central Police
Station from Nkrumah Road.

Figure 3.3.38: Oriental House This is a massive colonial building


that was put up in the 1930s. It has
banking halls and shops at the
ground floor level and offices at the
higher levels. It is three floors high.
The building has a ground floor
well connected to the street with a
canopy providing shelter to
pedestrians.

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The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

NODE

STREETS

Node 3:

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

BUILDINGS
Figure 3.3.39: Charterhouse Bank
House - This is a banking hall and
office building for Charterhouse
Bank. Despite its unique finish, the
building ignores the pedestrians.
Its ground floor is not connected to
the street and it has no canopy for
sheltering pedestrians.
Figure 3.3.40: Kaderbhoy Building
- This is an old colonial building,
three floors high. It has shops at its
ground floor level with offices in
higher floors. This building has
attempted to respond positively to
the street albeit with little success.

Node 4:

This node is at the Junction of


Nkrumah Road and Makadara
Road. It provides an important
location where vehicles can make
a 360 turn to the direction from
where they came.

Figure 3.3.41: Standard Chattered


Bank Building - Formerly a hotel
building, it directly faces and opens
up to this node. It consists of a
banking hall and offices. It also has
an ATM machine. The buildings
ground floor is however not
connected to the street and has no
canopy.

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The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

NODE

STREETS

BUILDINGS

Node 4:

It is a very important node whose


potential is however not fully
exploited as many of the buildings
around it have implemented
security policies that are too
unfriendly to pedestrians despite
the public nature of their functions.

Figure 3.3.42: District


Commissioners Office - This was
formerly the Treasury Building that
was built in the early 1900s. It
currently houses offices for the
Mombasa District Commissioner.

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

Figure 3.3.43: City Hall - Houses


offices for the Mombaca City
Council. All departments of the
council are located in this building.

Figure 3.3.44: Kenya Commercial


Bank - Formerly the Standard
Bank Building, it was built in the
early 1900s. It houses banking
halls, offices and Automated Teller
Machines for the bank.
Figure 3.3.45: Treasury Gardens This is an open park adjacent to
the node. It has a lot of plants
providing shade and is thus
popular with pedestrians.

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Node 4:
This is a very important and prominent node within the city. Its prominence has
been greatly enhanced by the location of many publicly relevant activities within
the vicinity. These include the Treasury Square Gardens, District
Commissioners office, City Hall, Provincial Commissioners office, the
Mombasa Hospital and various banking institutions.

Figure 3.3.46: Treasury Square.This node is seldom used as


can be seen in this image. Very few people can be seen
walking around. Even the parking lot is underutilized. Source:
Author.

Figure 3.3.47: The Central Bank of Kenya is one of the


buildings that make this node unfriendly. As can be seen, it has
been fenced off due to security reasons and the presence of
armed security personnel intimades the pedestrians. Source:
Author.

Despite this imminent advantage, the node suffers from underutilized potential.
Very few people appreciate the quality of this space and its importance. This is
due to the unfriendly nature of the buildings around the node. All their ground
floors are not connected to the street. The pedestrian walkways are also not
sheltered. The security policies around the building are also very strict. Thus,
pedestrians usually rush past this node towards a more friendlier Node 5.

Figure 3.3.48: An aerial perspective of the node showing the roundabout with a parking space at its centre.
The node is underutilized. Very few vehicles are also parked at the parking lot. Source: Author.

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The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

NODE

STREETS

BUILDINGS

Node 5:

This node is at the junction of


Nkrumah Road, Mbaraki Hinawy
Street and Ndia Kuu.

Figure 3.3.49: Fort Jesus Museum


- This is an old Portuguese fort that
was built in 1593. It is currently a
museum housing the forts ruins
and offices of the Kenya National
Museums. It is a popular tourist
attraction centre bringing in many
local and foreign tourists.

Mbaraki Hinawy Street is an


important street in Old Town
Mombasa as it links to the
Governmrnt Square and Old Port.
Ndia Kuu, as the name suggests,
was the main street in Old Town. It
is lined up with mixed use buildings
that have shops at their ground
level.

Maseghe T. M. B02/0267/2003

Figure 3.3.50: Mombasa Club - A


members only club that was
constructed in the early 1900s and
has operated as a members club
ever since. It has restaurants and
recreational facilities that are
accessed by its members.

Figure 3.3.51: Fort Jesus Forex


Bureau - This is a foreign
exchange centre that is mainly
used by tourists should they need
to exchange currencies.

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Node 5:
Of all the nodes along this street, this node stood out. This is mainly due to the
nature of the main building at the node, the Fort Jesus Museum and its location
at the gateway to Old Town Mombasa. The node also has various monuments
and an open plaza that is well shaded and friendly to pedestrians. It is therefore
a point of attraction for many people. There are a number of shops at the node
selling snacks and curios, creating a lot of activity.

Figure 3.3.52: Node 5 with Fort Jesus Museum in the


background. There is a turning point enabling vehicles to make
a 360 turn to the direction they came from. Source: Author.

Figure 3.3.53: There are various shops at the node for curios
and refreshments. There is also a foreign exchange bureau
located here. Source: Author.

Figure 3.3.54: A monument at the plaza in Node 5.


This plaza has enhanced the prominence of the
node. Source: Author.

Figure 3.3.55: Unique furniture has been provided


at the plaza. There is consistency in the materials
used. Source: Author.

Figure 3.3.56: Various artifacts of historical


significance are also on display at the plaza.
Source: Author.

Figure 3.3.57: The plaza is well shaded from the


harsh climate making it attractive to the public.
Source: Author.

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Landmark 01: The Holy Ghost Cathedral:


The site of the church was purchased for 30 per acre in 1891 by Fr. Le Roy
who was later to become archbishop Superior General of his congregation. The
area was initially made up of bush and forest. A church capable of
accommodating 400 people was built and this still survives
as a bookshop.
In 1895, under the direction of Fr. Ball, work was begun on the
spacious Presbytery which is still in use. A convent school facing what is now
Nkrumah Road was also built during the same period. This school was later
replaced by an office building, Ambalal House.
In 1918, the church was found to be inadequate and the construction of a new
church was approved. Building work started with the aid of African labour
trained at the mission. This cathedral with its romanesque towers is one of the
best known landmarks in Mombasa sited in the hub of the island. When the
flamboyants and bougainvilleas are in bloom, the area around the cathedral is a
mass of colours.

Figure 3.3.58: An image of the Holy Ghost Cathedral taken in


the 1950s. The two towers were an additional to the original
design of the church. Source: Mombasa; The Friendly Town.

Figure 3.3.59: A view of the cathedral as it is now


taken from Nyerere Road. Source: Author.

Figure 3.3.60: The open space at the front of the


cathedral that borders Nkrumah Road. This space
is filled with plants and flowers. Source: Author.

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Landmark 02: Mombasa Memorial Cathedral:


The church was opened in 31st May, 1905 by the first Bishop of Mombasa, the
Rt. Rev, Peel. It had been constructed at a cost of 4,400.
The cathedral was built in memory of Hannington and Parker and the Rev.
Henry Wright who were all pioneer bishops in Africa.
The cathedral building has a distinctively Islamic appearance accentuated by its
dome. Stained glass windows adorn both East and West ends of the church,
and one of the most treasured pieces of furniture is Hanningtons chair on which
the bishops of Mombasa are enthroned.

Figure 3.3.61: Mombasa Memorial Cathedral in the 1950s. The


dome above the building accentuates the Islamic feel of the
church. Source: Mombasa; The Friendly Town.

Figure 3.3.62: The entrance to the Mombasa Memorial


Cathedral. There is a large open space around the church filled
with plants and lawn. Source: Author.

Figure 3.3.63: The


Hanningtons Chair found
inside the church. Source:
Mombasa; The Friendly
Town

Figure 3.3.64: The Mombasa Memorial Cathedral as it is today. The arches


on the entrance, windows and around the domes at the roof accentuate
the Islamic look of the cathedral. Source: Author.

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Landmark 03: Fort Jesus Museum:


This is a massive and impressive landmark set out at the Southern end of Old
Town, Mombasa. It was built on a coral ridge set high above its surroundings.
The chief architect was Joao Batista, an Italian, who was chief architect of
Portuguese India.
The fort conforms to the general plan of forts in the 16th Century and is
reckoned to be one of the finest remaining examples. From the air, it looks like
a frog with its arms turned in and its back legs almost ready for a leap (Figure
3.3.65).

Figure 3.3.65: Plan of Fort Jesus Museum. From this view, it


looks like a frog with its arms turned in and its back legs almost
ready for a leap. Source: http://www.tourism.go.ke

Inside the fort is some two acres in extent. These were barracks for the troops
sited along the straight side walls. The museum inside the fort was built recently
under the guidance of Mr. Kirkman. It is set out attractively with items of interest
pertaining to the Coast.

Figure 3.3.66: An image of Fort Jesus taken in the 1950s.


Source: Mombasa; The Friendly Town.

Figure 3.3.67: Fort Jesus as it is today located at a prominent node at the gateway to Old Town Mombasa.
It has a plaza with various artifacts and monuments that attract people. Source: Author.

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The Street Image: An Urban Study of Nkrumah Road, Mombasa.

3.4

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Summary of Findings
3.4.1 Historical Analysis

Mombasa seems to have been a notable urban centre as early as 1331 as it is


said to have had abundant supply of food and well constructed wooden
structures.
There is also evidence on the existence of an urban centre in Mombasa during
the Portuguese period. Fort Jesus Museum and Mandrhy Mosque are some of
the buildings standing today which were constructed during this period. The
houses were three storeyed, plastered with lime and had balconies and stone
seats in front of them for people to sit. The streets were narrow.
Figure 3.4.1: Fort Jesus Museum is a building with a rich
historical background that was constructed during the
Portuguese period. Source: Author.

The British period saw the development of major public works projects which
largely define the current urban structure of Mombasa. Nkrumah Road is
specifically characterised by buildings that were constructed during this period.
A master plan for Mombasa was developed in 1962 and tackled issues of urban
transportation and housing. A draft physical development plan was later
developed to improve urban fabric and infrastructure.
3.4.2 Visual Analysis
Nkrumah Road, though with a highly built up area, has a substantial area of
open space fronting and surrounding buildings with a permeable network of
streets joining it thus connecting it to different parts of Mombasa.

Figure 3.4.2: Part of Nkrumah Road where the building has


been fenced off the street thus providing a point of weak
connection between the building and the street. Source: Author.

Points of weak connections were found in some areas. The notable ones were
adjacent to NSSF Building and the Mombasa Memorial Cathedral. In these
cases, fences were used to bar connection between buildings and open spaces
especially those used by the public like streets and pedestrian pavements.

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Enclosure of public spaces varies along the street. To the Western edge of the
street, enclosures of up to a width to height ratio of 1:2 were found. Towards the
Eastern edge, enclosures lowered to a ratio of 1:1.
The roofline, which is related to enclosures, is high to the western edge where
buildings rise up to 35metres. Towards the Eastern edge, the roofline reduces
to a low of about 6metres.
Spaces also vary in character. Towards the western edge, surfaces are largely
hard landscaped with minimal traces of plant cover. Towards the Eastern edge,
plant cover can be seen to overshadow the buildings. Street width also varies at
different locations with the widest point being outside the NSSF building.
Most buildings were found to have RC walls finished with plaster and paint.
Openings are made of glass except for one old building with wooden windows.
Paving is of concrete blocks and tiles of different shapes, sizes and colours
giving the various parts of the street different character.
Figure 3.4.3: Nkrumah Road towards its Western edge at the
point of highest enclosure. Source: Author.

Various street corners were treated differently. While some were ignored by the
designers, most received positive responses through having main entrances,
major building openings and pedestrian friendly activity oriented towards the
street corner. Unique materials have been used in some instances to give the
corners a unique character.
Most ground floors except those of banks, were found to be well connected to
the streets. This has been done through use of transparent material on the
ground floors and allocation of pedestrian friendly activities in spaces at the
ground floor. Canopies that provide shade also offer an attractive environment
to be used by pedestrians.

Figure 3.4.4: Charterhouse Bank Building that has oriented its


main entrance towards a street corner. Source: Author.

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3.4.3 Legibility Study


Nkrumah Road was found to have a concentration of banking activities with
more than 20 banks and other financial institutions located along the street.
Major banks include the Central Bank of Kenya, Kenya Commercial Bank and
Barclays Bank among others.
The street was also found to have close proximity to some special features
within Mombasa. Those noted include the Holy Ghost Cathedral, Mombasa
Memorial Cathedral, Treasury Square, Treasury Gardens, Mombasa City Hall
and the Fort Jesus Museum.

Figure 3.4.5: Consolidated bank is one of the many banks that


are located along Nkrumah Road. Source: Author.

Several nodes were found to exist along Nkrumah Road. The most prominent
one is the Treasury Square. The buildings and activities located at this node are
the most publicly relevant along the street. These include the City Hall, District
Commissioners office and the Treasury Gardens. The node also has unique
spatial characteristic and is also the junction of very prominent streets in
Mombasa, Makadara Road and Nkrumah Road.
The landmarks found along the street inluded Holy Ghost Cathedral, Mombasa
Memorial Cathedral and the Fort Jesus Museum. Of these, two are located at
nodes. Only Mombasa Memorial Cathedral is located away from a node. All the
landmarks noted were iconic buildings of great public relevance with a rich
historical background.

Figure 3.4.6: Treasury Square is one of the major nodes


located along Nkrumah Road. It has a car park and an open
park. Source: Author.

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Chapter Four: Conclusions and Recommendations


4.1

Conclusions

Objective

Methodology

Historical Analysis Reference to statements


of explorers and authors
Assess the impacts during the Islamic period.
of the citys history
Inventory of buildings
on the current urban during the Portuguese
form.
period.

Findings

Meaning

By 1331, Mombasa was an urban centre


with abundant food and well constructed
structures.

Mombasa is a very old city with a rich


historical background.

Fort Jesus and Mandrhy mosque


constructed during this period

The current urban structure of


Mombasa, especially that of Old Town
is similar to that described during the
Portuguese period.

Houses were three storeyed, plastered


using lime with balconies and stone seats
on the fronts
Streets were narrow

Inventory of buildings
Major public works projects undertaken.
Current structure of Nkrumah Road is a
during the British period.
direct resultant of projects undertaken
Most buildings along Nkrumah Road were during this period.
constructed during this period.
Interrogating the 1962
Mombasa master plan.

Tackled issues of urban transportation


and housing.

Since no other comprehensive master


plan for Mombasa has been done, this
document has been the basis of the
development of the city.

Interrogating the 1971


draft physical
development plan.

Suggested improvements to the general


urban fabric and in particular the
infrastructure.

Infrastructural development in
Mombasa has been on the basis of the
1962 master plan taking into
consideration the issues tackled in this
draft physical development plan which
touched on urban planning issues.

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Objective

Methodology

Findings

Meaning

Visual Analysis

Nollis 1748 map of


Rome and Gibberds
alternative.

The street has a substantial area of open


space and a permeable network of
streets joining Nkrumah road.

Whereas open spaces enhance the


image of an environment, their
connection to buildings is of great
importance. Points of weak connection
which deter such connections impact
negatively on the image of the
environment
Points of high enclosure are less
preferable as their massive scale
overwhelms the pedestrian on the
street. This would at times be
disadvantageous as people tend to
avoid such areas making them
deserted and insecure.

Assess the visual


qualities of Nkrumah
Road and their
impact on the image
of the street.

Points of weak connection to the streets


were noted.
Street sections and
elevations

High enclosures and rooflines noted


towards the Western edge of the street
and these reduce towards the Eastern
edge.

Aerial and ground


photography

Areas towards Western edge are highly


built up with minimal plant cover. Eastern
edge has a substantial plant cover.

Hard landscaped areas maybe less


preferred as they are generally hotter
with more reflection of light.

Street is widest at a point outside the


NSSF building.

Wide streets reduce enclosure levels


making an area more preferable by
pedestrians.

Building have RC walls with plaster and


paint finish. Openings are of glass.
Paved surfaces vary in character due to
materials of different shapes, sizes and
colours used.

Successful ground floors of buildings


which embrace the pedestrian create a
great connection of the building with
the street thus enhancing the general
image of an environment.

Most ground floors, except those of


banks, are well connected to the main
street.

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Objective

Methodology

Findings

Legibility Study

Study of Nkrumah Road


as a path

The street was found to be intensely used The concentration of banking activities
due to availability of publicly relevant
has increased the prominence of the
activities.
street in the minds of users as it can be
easily related to this activity.
A concentration of banking activities was
noted along the path making it identifiable The security installations associated
with banks has however intimidated
as a banking street. Major banks
including the Central Bank of Kenya were pedestrians as they cannot pass by the
path with confidence.
found along this path.

Assess the legibility


or otherwise of
Nkrumah Road and
its impact on the
image of the street

Meaning

The path was also found to be in close


proximity to some special features in
Mombasa. These include the Treasury
Square Gardens and the landmarks
noted below.

The special features in close proximity


to the street result in massive use of
the street as people try to access these
features. This heightens the
prominence of the street.

Study of nodes along


Nkrumah Road

Five major nodes were noted in the study.


These were junctions of prominent streets
in the city and in some of them, the
buildings located there were of great
public relevance. One notable node is the
Treasury Square.

Nodes are junctions in which people


would stop and make decisions thus
they perceive elements in junctions with
greater attention. Properly articulated
elements increases the prominence of
such junctions and thus the image of
the environment.

Study of landmarks
along Nkrumah Road

Three main landmarks were noted along


Nkrumah Road. These are Holy Ghost
Cathedral, Mombasa Memorial Cathedral
and the Fort Jesus Museum.

Landmarks enhance the image of an


environment as they are points of
attraction which people can relate with
and thus relate with the environment
they are in.

All landmarks noted are iconic buildings


of great public relevance with a rich
historical background.

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Recommendations

Due to various limitations, the study could not get into a survey of the impact of
the streets legibility against the prominence that users have attached to it.
Further research on the impact of legibility to the users is thus recommended
following the methodology developed by Kevin Lynch in Image of the City which
he used to study Boston and Los Angeles.
Other recommendations which may have direct impact on current and future
developments along Nkrumah Road include:I)
II)
III)

IV)

V)

Elimination of points of weak connections through removal of fences


barring buildings from streets. More appropriate security options which
do not impact negatively on the urban fabric should be considered.
Future developments should have limitations which prevent creation of
points of high enclosure. Buildings with greater heights should only be
allowed in areas where there are wide streets.
The areas to the Western edge of Nkrumah Road should be softened
through increased plants and soft landscaping. This, other than positively
changing the character of the street, will provide shade, reduce some
heat and make the area more preferable to the users.
Future developments at street corners should be required to have
publicly relevant activities and orient their entrances and main activities
towards the corners. Material finishes in such developments should also
be unique and outstanding. Developments that do not respond to street
corners in the ways described should not be allowed.
All ground floors should be opened up to the street through use of
transparent materials or having wide openings facing the main street.
The activities located at ground floor should be mainly retail and
pedestrian friendly. Developers should be encouraged to utilize canopies
which provide shade and thus attract pedestrians to walk along the
buildings. Restrictions should be made on heights with which groung
floors can be raised off the street levels.

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VI)

VII)

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Junctions which are considered as major nodes should have only


important developments of greater public relevance allowed. These
developments should positively respond to the junctions and street
corners in which the fall. Mainly landmark developments should be
allowed in nodes.
Future landmark or special feature developments should be done in very
close proximity to the streets or at nodes and streets corners. This would
work towards enhancing the image of the street in general and of the
specific nodes and corners.

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References
5.1

Published Sources

Bentley, I. et al. (1985), Responsive Environments; A Manual for Designers.


CABE, (2004), Designing Streets for People; How Highway and Transportation
Professionals Can Make Better Places, Institution of Highway and
Transportation.
Ching, F. D. K. (1979), Architecture: Form, Space and Order, Van Nostrand
Reinhold Publishers, New York.
Cuthbert, A. R. The Form of Cities; Political, Economy and Urban Design.
Fyfe N. R. (1998), Images of the Street, Routledge.
Jewell, J. H. A. (1976), Mombasa: The Friendly Town, East African Publishing
House.
Letizia Del Bue, Preservation and Presentation of the Cultural Heritage of
Kenya: Mombasa old Town and Fort Jesus - Final Implementation Report 1991
- 1992.
Lynch, K. (1960), Image of the City, MIT Press.
Lynch, K. (1981), A Theory of Good City Form, MIT Press.
Moughtin, C. et al. (1999), Urban Design: Methods And Techniques,
Architectural Press, Oxford.
Newman, O. Creating Defensible Spaces

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5.2

Unpublished Sources

Birol G. (2004), An Alternative Approach for Analysis of Traditional Shopping


Spaces.
Kimani B. The Market Image; A Legibility Study of the Toi Open Air Market
Kibera.
Merril D. St. Leger-Demian, Urban Rhythms; A School of Music and Mixed Use
Project for Washington DC.
Munyua A. Discerning Urban Design Elements in Nairobi CBD.
5.3

Other Documents

The 1962 Mombasa Master Plan, Ministry of Planning and National


Development.
The 1971 Mombasa draft Physical Development Plan, Ministry of Planning and
National Development.
Draft Zoning Plan for Northern Mainland Mombasa and its Environs, Mombasa
District Physical Planning Office and the Municipal Council of Mombasa.

71