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BuildX Studio (formerly Orkidstudio)

BuildX Studio (formerly Orkidstudio) is a Nairobi-based architectural, engineering, and construction company creating real estate projects for positive social and environmental impact.

BuildX began as Orkidstudio, an aspiration of like-minded students at the Welsh School of Architecture that eventually evolved into a traditional non-profit. The team behind BuildX built an incredible portfolio during these years, taking care to observe & reflect on the challenges and limitations of traditional aid models. 

Since becoming a Social Design Circle Honoree in 2017, BuildX has seen a 360-degree evolution. In 2020, they kicked off the year by rebranding from Orkidstudio (an NGO) to BuildX Studio (a private limited company with a strong impact mission). The new name and visual identity are a representation of the disruptive and innovative company they strive to be. Leveraging the value they had already created, the team at BuildX shifted the point of project origination to initiate impact-driven building projects which can disrupt the entrenched and damaging systems that dictate how they construct their buildings. 

BuildX aims to design and build green buildings through exceptional human-centered design solutions that prioritize natural local resources and communities. They do so by focusing on three main concepts: Innovative, cost-effective, and human-centered design—working with clients to maximize returns and impact with purpose-built buildings; acting as both designer and builder—from visioning and concept design to the finished product—to deliver the highest standards of quality while optimizing costs and timeline; and sustainable design and construction. In addition, the studio encourages inclusive skill development; not only does each project serve its intended purpose, but the work of BuildX also has the potential to change how others build in the future.

One recent project of the studio was the ICT Education Centre (2020-2021), for which Build X studio served as the structural engineer and main contractor. The center supports local entrepreneurship and youth through ICT skills training. Located in a very remote area of Turkana, Kenya, the use of local materials and the transfer of knowledge to the locals were critical during the construction process.

Currently, the studio is working as the designer, contractor, and developer of Zima Homes, an affordable housing project set to address two key issues of the Kenyan market: limited quality affordable housing and the need for more sustainable buildings. The Zima pilot aims to be EDGE certified with about 60% embodied carbon efficiency.