AAK Awards of Excellence in Architecture_The Rebirth of Kenyan Architecture
Theme: The Rebirth of Kenyan Architecture – Kenya @ 50
In a span of less than a 100 years, Kenya has transformed magnificently in terms of architectural development. From a period when the two storey Kipande house, then a rail warehouse, was the tallest building to a time that the Times Tower overlooks the city from over 30 floors in height.
From a period when the countryside was but a wilderness that Africans hunted in, farmed and grazed their livestock to the bustling cities of Kisumu and Mombasa. Architecture has transformed the topography and it does the same to the lifestyle of the people as well. To recognise and appreciate the milestones achieved in this sector, the Architectural Association of Kenya, with sponsorship from paint manufacturers Duracoat, organised an award of excellence in the various sectors.
“Architecture is not just important, but it reflects who we are as we spend most of our time, either in the offices or at home, within this built environment and it is thus crucial to recognise the efforts put in by this profession,” said Ambassador Dr Martin Kimani, Head of Mission to the UN Nairobi as he presided over the ceremony at the Hotel Intercontinental.
The panel of four judges (Flora Runumi- Uganda, Evans Williams Anfom- Ghana, and Henning Rasmuss- South Africa) was headed by Kenyan veteran architect, Dr David Mutiso. The team spent two days sieving through the presentations and nominations and below is the list of Kenya’s best in the various categories, according to the judges. Interesting, none of the projects entered for the best interior design category met international standards according to the judges and therefore no award was given on that category.
The Winners were:
1. Best Residential Building Project
Location: Plot 7158 / 509, Nairobi
Architect: Studio Infinity
2. The Courtyard
Best Commercial building project
Location: Westlands, Nairobi
Architect: Bowman Associates
3. Red Pepper House
Best Hospitality Industry Project
Architect: Urko Sanchez Architects, 2012
4. Manda Airport
Best Cultural Building Project
Architects: Adventis Inhouse Africa
5. Garba Tulla School
Best Educational Project
Architects: TRIAD Architects, 1978
Yet another winner from the Coast! The architect describes it as an intelligent and suitably ordered project in a rambling campus landscape, this project shows that cultural references can be respectfully absorbed into modern buildings without resorting to cheap façade antics. This is a collection of buildings that whisper instead of shouting, and that betray a confidence of line and detail which should result in a fine environment for large gatherings of people once it is built.’
Looks like if you want to win, consider the Kenyan Coast and you’ll be on the roll! Well, we will let the consultants explain for this project. Fourteen apartments, Tudor Creek Mombasa Island. Quite the assignment for us, representing a new frontier, a new experience, a new breakthrough.
First, there was the plot, long and narrow, facing East. Then the challenge of translating our contemporary Swahili style, without existing references to draw upon, to a ground-breaking highrise structure – one that would stand out beautifully on the peninsula. In light of these considerations, our initial threshold was to apply solutions we had used in horizontal projects to a vertical realization.
Simultaneously, we are maximizing views over the creek. Three styles of apartment will be featured primarily with three bedrooms, each accommodated with underground parking. The Tudor Apartments will also offer splendid tower living and a penthouse.
Parliament buildings – one of the definitory icons of Nairobi’s skyline. If you haven’t seen it, you haven’t been to Nairobi. A surprisingly confident and skilled use of modernist line, mannerist delight and almost baroque drama and composition, this fine civic building sets itself apart from the often literal symbolism and ponderous expressive urges of post-colonial buildings for the functioning of African governments. It is important to realise that a building of such elegant forceful expression and such staying power was executed by a very young architect of limited experience, but evidently of natural and deep-seated skill and discretion.