Kenya Commercial Bank HQ

An economically sustainable and environmentally friendly tower for the bank’s headquarters in Upper Hill, Nairobi.

The tower houses offices, a state-of-the-art banking hall, and administrative offices, along with conference facilities for meetings, conventions, and workshops. The site presented three major challenges for a tower building: height limitations, very hard stone bedrock, and Nairobi’s equatorial sun.

To address these challenges, a triangular-shaped tower block was designed, with 25 levels that give all facades of the building prominence. Environmental design played a crucial role in defining the architecture, ensuring that all floors are naturally lit and ventilated. Heat gain into the building is minimized, while daylight is maximized without the need for mechanical systems. Exposed precast concrete waffle floor slabs provide adequate thermal mass, absorbing internally generated heat during the day and cool air during the night.

To further reduce heat gain, extensive use of light-reflecting solar shading fins and louvered horizontal shading on the high light transmittance glazing was adopted. 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, compensating for a lengthy excavation period.

The building offers 800 sqm of office space per level, and there are 400 car parking spaces on five levels. Rainwater collection, treatment, and water recycling further reduce the already low running costs. The building is designed to be disabled-accessible and is serviced by seven high-speed lifts, with two dedicated to fire-fighting and one for VIP use. The construction of the building was completed in 2015.