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Architects Behind Nairobi’s Tallest Buildings

  • Among African cities, Nairobi has been famed for the iconic buildings that dominate its skyline. 

    However, little is known of the brains behind some of the buildings that are not only the tallest in the country but also in the continent.

    Here is a list of architects who designed some of the most iconic masterpieces in the country.

    The Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) pictured in October 2019.

    The Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) pictured in October 2019.

    Simon Kiragu

    1. David Mutiso – KICC

    David Mutiso made a name for himself in the architectural industry after he became the first African architect in the country.

    Mutiso designed the famous Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) alongside Karl Henrik Nøstvik. Over the years, the building became a landmark in the country after its official opening by founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta in 1973.

    He studied architecture and graduated from the University of Sheffield in 1959. Consequently, Mutiso was appointed as the chief architect for then Ministry of Works after the country got independence.

    During an interview in 2021, he revealed that the initial plan for the building was four floors but was eventually revised to a 32-storey building.

    A collage image of David Mutiso (Left) and Julius Talaam (Right).

    A collage image of David Mutiso (Left) and Julius Talaam (Right).

    File

    2. Julius Talaam – GTC/ UAP Towers 

    Julius Talaam is the brains behind the UAP Old Mutual Towers in Upperhill, Nairobi County, and also contributed in the designing of the Global Trade Center (GTC) building in Nairobi’s upmarket Westlands estate.

    The UAP Towers, which is a 33 storey office complex, was constructed at a cost of Ksh5B and was completed in 2015.

    Talaam is a senior architect at Triad Architects, a Nairobi-based firm, and a principal at Laam Architects. He studied architecture at the University of Nairobi and was also a consultant for Telkom from 2008 to 2009.

    The Global Trade Center (GTC) building along Waiyaki way taken on November 9, 2021.

    The Global Trade Center (GTC) building along Waiyaki way taken on November 9, 2021.

    Twitter

    GTC

    3. Senator Sylvia Kasanga – Le’ Mac 

    Unknown to many, nominated Senator Sylvia Kasanga designed the Le’ Mac building located in Nairobi’s Westlands area. The iconic building, famed for its dome-shaped structure at the top, has 23 floors.

    The building was undertaken at a cost of Ksh4 billion and the Senator designed the building as she was part of Sycum Solutions which undertook its design process.

    The nominated Senator is a graduate of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) and has been praised by her party leader Kalonzo Musyoka for her remarkable talent.

    Nominated Senator Sylvia Kasanga speaking in Parliament

    Nominated Senator Sylvia Kasanga speaking in Parliament

    File

    4. James Gitoho – GTC 

    James Gitoho is a project Manager at Trichad Architects and revealed that Kenyan architects participated in designing the GTC building which was undertaken by a Chinese company.

    During an interview in 2021, he stated that the building was iconic because of the high-rise complex that comprises offices, malls and a hotel.

    GTC is currently considered the tallest building in Eastern and Central Africa as it is 184 metres tall. The building has attracted global attention and was opened by President Uhuru Kenyatta on December 24, 2021.

    “The project was an international design competition and the client wanted the best out of both worlds. They needed local input and so we started participating in a competition among four architects,” he stated then.

    A collage image of James Gitoho (Left) and Wambaa Mungai (Right).

    A collage image of James Gitoho (Left) and Wambaa Mungai (Right).

    File

    5. Wambaa Mungai – Times Towers

    Mungai started practicing in 1990 and undertook the design of some of the buildings within the Nairobi metropolis including the Lenana Mount hotel.

    The graduate of the University of Nairobi is multi-talented and is also experienced in interior designs. He was part of Triad Architects from 1990 before he joined Landplan Kenya as the Chief Executive Officer.

    The Times Tower which hosts offices for the Kenya Revenue Authority was designed by Mungai and was completed in 1999.

    Times Tower Building in Nairobi.

    Times Tower Building in Nairobi.

    Kenyans.co.ke

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