An economically sustainable and environmentally friendly tower for the bank's headquarters in Upper Hill, Nairobi.
The tower house offices a state of the art banking hall, and administrative offices and conference facilities for meetings, conventions and workshops. The site presented three major challenges for a tower building: height limitations, very hard stone bed-rock and Nairobi's equatorial sun.A triangular-shaped tower block was arrived at. At 25 levels the triangular shaped plan gives all facades of the building prominence. Environmental design was key in defining the architecture, with all floors naturally lit and ventilated. Heat gain into the building is kept to a minimum whilst daylight to a maximum without the use of mechanical systems. Exposed precast concrete waffle floor slabs provide for adequate thermal mass, absorbing internally generated heat during the day and cool air during the night. To reduce heat gain, extensive use of light-reflecting solar shading fins was adopted, coupled with louvered horizontal shading on the high light transmittance glazing. Three sky courts, each within three “fire compartments" were created to limit the spread of fire and smoke, allow air movement into the building and up through the atrium. The use of precast concrete floor slabs ensured speedier construction- a deliberate move to make up time after a lengthy excavation period.The building provides 800sqm of office space per level, and 400 car parking spaces on five levels. Rainwater collection and treatment and water recycling reduce the already low running costs. The building is disabled-accessible and is serviced by seven high speed lifts, two of which are dedicated for fire-fighting and one VIP lift. The building was completed in 2015.
Hilton Hotel Fire Escape
Hilton Hotel Fire Escape
View Project Location Completed: 1997 Location: Nairobi Central Business District (CBD) Project Type: Commercial
In 1995 the Nairobi Hilton Hotel embarked on a substantial upgrade and refurbishment. The 19 floor hotel had been designed with one staircase and no alternative means of escape which posed a huge risk. The brief was to design and install a fire escape staircase to meet International Fire Regulation Standards, with minimal disruption to the fully operational hotel, both spatially and during construction. The client approached international architects, engineers and a team of local consultants with no feasible solution from them. PLANNING was approached by the project managers and within 3 hours a solution had emerged. Two months later, construction commenced on a staircase that is circular externally, but square in plan to fully comply with International fire escape regulations.
An addition of a staircase internally was ruled out by PLANNING as it was realized that this would eliminate at least one bedroom per floor and would require reinforced concrete floor slabs to be cut away- an extremely noisy exercise using diamond tipped saws and requiring constant water cooling. Our solution was for an external staircase that would be prefabricated off-site in dry conditions. The staircase would also be self-supporting from floor to floor with loads transferred back into the building’s structure so that no additional foundations were needed. This eliminated the potentially massively disruptive process of taking new concrete foundations through the Entrance Hall and/or through the adjacent Ball Room.
The external fire escape staircase was completed on budget and on time. It is 100% internationally fire compliant and an elegant improvement to the exterior of this city hotel.
View Project Location Completed: 1991 Location: Nairobi Central Business District (CBD) Project Type: Commercial
Designed in 1989 to be Lonrho Africa's Headquarters.
The brief proved to be a challenge; to design a modern commercial high-rise that must show a minimum of 14% return on capital. To be constructed over and through an existing, badly built, three floor building occupied by sitting tenants who could not be legally evicted, and whose day to day business had to continue. Four of Nairobi's leading architectural practices were approached and all declined as each considered the brief to be impossible. PLANNING with the Structural Engineer I.B. Patel thought otherwise, and the Lonrho Africa Building now stands as evidence of that. PLANNING asked for 10 days to explore the options and think it through.
This fully air-conditioned building ranks technically as the most complex development ever attempted in East Africa (possibly Africa). The final design was completed on budget, with a 17% return on capital in the first years. Cars are parked above the existing building as basement parking was not an option. The car park floors are clear spans from Standard Street to Kaunda Street, with no columns between.
The Vice President for Citibank Real Estate presented a simple yet exacting brief, “A box with no columns” with an “international but also Kenyan” appearance. As Architects our main design challenges were:
Citibank had already committed themselves to the site, on Nairobi Hill, for their new offices in advance of selecting architects. This in itself presented several challenges which included; poor water, sewer, power and road services on Nairobi Hill, steep topography composed entirely of black trap rock, a very hard rock, difficult to quarry and major road access compromises arising from security precautions from the adjacent British High Commission (under construction at the time).
Reducing the accommodation to meet the strict budget
Persuading Citibank Head Office that a fully air-conditioned building was not necessary.
Minimizing excavation of rock and reusing the resulting rubble for landscaping, to reduce cart-away costs.
The atrium concept emerged with deep balcony workspaces looking into the naturally lit atrium and through the massive east-facing picture window overlooking the city. Columns were kept to a minimum by the 11 meter spanning beams. A roof grid provides natural light into the Atrium whilst minimizing heat from the sun. The hand-worked aluminium entrance doors (hand-beaten by Samburu women) and large bas relief sculptured panels provide the “Kenya” element. At the handing-over ceremony, Mr. Hands, Citibank's Vice-president for Real Estate stated "You have not given me a box with no columns. You have given me a beautiful box with no columns".
The Rahimtulla Tower is intended to generate funds for re-investment in community and in charity projects for The Ismail Rahimtulla Trust, a charitable Institution formed in 1940. The brief required a simple building that would reinforce their image of stability and durability. Durability, low maintenance and low running costs were key.
Vertical and horizontal ducting provides for simple and flexible cable management. Office floors are naturally ventilated but also designed to accommodate air conditioning or mechanical ventilation. The main frame consists of reinforced concrete with concrete block infill. The Tower base and window mullions are clad in a white glazed ceramic tile for durability, economy and ease of maintenance. Sash windows are glazed in blue, tinted heat-reflective glass and set into vertically sliding aluminium frames. The outsides of all windows are therefore accessible from inside for cleaning and maintenance.
East and west elevations have white glazed ceramic solar shade grilles. The half meter gap between grille and building creates an updraft of air to cool the spaces within. Water features cool the podium and generate sounds of falling water to muffle traffic noise. The top floor is a conference centre. There is a main communications mast, and the sloped ceramic grille roof enclosure hides a multitude of satellite receivers and transmitters.
I&M Bank Tower
I&M Bank Tower
View Project Location Completed: 2001 Location: Nairobi Central Business District (CBD) Project Type: Commercial
PLANNING was approached by the client because of the way in which it had solved the challenge that was Nairobi’s Lonrho House- A tower constructed over an existing three storey building on a restricted site. I&M required a tower that would hold office and retail space on their spatially restricted city centre plot. Detailed cost and benefit studies were done at early design stages for several building options, keeping in mind existing buildings and busy roads on all sides and the need to build over the entire site.
A three storey Atrium was agreed upon which opened up onto Kenyatta Avenue and Muindi Mbingu Street. This gave pedestrians access to the podium shops and offices in the tower above. The Atrium concept was successful in visually and functionally separating the retail from the offices, giving an impression of a tower growing from the ground (podium). The client felt that this option gave him the best commercial advantages.
The office floors are designed so that natural cross ventilation is possible. Staircases, elevators and lavatories are on the westerly side of the building to shield offices from uncomfortable heat gains and glare from the afternoon sun. Limited construction space meant a heat reflective glass cladding system would have to arrive on site in fully finished sections ready for assembly. All floors are of composite construction, where floor slabs were precast off site and lifted into position, therefore minimalizing onsite concrete mixing and material storage. Due to the noise pollution and car exhaust fumes in the area, mechanical air handling for the building was required. 100% standby power provision and water storage in the basement ensures the building can survive temporary power and water supply failures.
View Project Location Completed: 1984 Location: Nairobi Central Business District (CBD) Project Type: Commercial
Designed for the East African Building Society in 1982 and completed in 1984, this 20 storey building has two basements for car parking, and a banking Hall and headquarters for the East African Building Society. Shops are set around a ground floor pedestrian atrium. The entrance doors are of note as the frames are hand-carved out of Maninga hardwood, by Lamu craftsmen.
Fedha Towers was PLANNING's first venture into high-rise design. Its unique shape and plan form made it an instant seller. All lettable space was taken up within 2 months of completion.
View Project Location Completed: 1993 Location: Nairobi Central Business District (CBD) Project Type: Commercial
PLANNING was commissioned to liaise with and take over from the international award winning architects Henning Larsen, who were appointed by Industrial Promotion Services to produce the building's Concept and its Outline Design. The Client's brief to Henning Larsen was for a building that would establish the visual and commercial presence of the National Publishing Group within the Central Business District of Nairobi.
The major challenges for Henning Larsen were the advancing technologies of the printing and graphics industries and the need (or otherwise) to accommodate these within this City Centre building or elsewhere. (They were to be accommodated, later, in a building outside the City Centre to proceed after the concept design stage had been completed by the late Henning Larsen and approved by the client). PLANNING's tasks included those of rationalizing the structure to accommodate the design and working out how best to place the building's services (which were both sophisticated and considerable) within the constraints of the twin cylindrical towers. There were also problems to be resolved with the site, and with the client’s requirements for adequate basement car parking.Construction of this building on its very constricted and busy City Centre site produced many challenges for the consultants and for the contractor. The building was however completed on budget and on time.
Built on the Nairobi Hill and completed in 1992, this project was designed as a shareholders development, with each shareholder having an individual floor. This was one of the first attempts in Nairobi to use brick in a contemporary manner and it softened the visual impact onto the street.
The client’s original brief called for a 3-4 bedroom house to be modified into an office space for the George Williamson administration. With the original structure demolished, the final proposal was for maximum development. Before the building was complete, all floors were taken.The premises has adequate secure parking, 1 week of stand by water storage, as well as two generators that provide 100% back up.There were a few challenges to overcome in the design process, including an office floor which could be easily subdivided. As the main entrance faces due west, it receives all the afternoon sun. The design of the lavatories, main staircase and lifts had to be to the west to protect the office spaces from overheating. This was a design challenge in itself to ensure it did not look like it housed the above.This building has proved to be commercially successful. It was completed on budget and on time.
Located on a steeply sloping site, Rosslyn Riviera Shopping Centre is designed as a neighbourhood retail development that will complement its surrounding suburban scale, and will not be overwhelming. It is designed to sit on four levels that cascade down the slope on which it sits. Movement and sequence takes advantage of the slope by allowing for entry at mid and top level of a natural grade at those entry points. Movement within is designed to give maximum visibility to each retail outlet and eventually terminate at a primary anchor. Restaurants and other relaxation points frame an open courtyard conceived as a village square that opens up to the bordering river downslope on the serene side of the site, serving as an unexpected situational event in itself. Parking is largely contained at basement level within the slope. Shops are spread vertically on three levels..