University of Nairobi to construct a Sh2.3 billion tower

By Charles Sikulu

Nairobi,Kenya:The University of Nairobi has broken ground to pave way for the construction of a 22-storey building at the Main Campus to accommodate increasing academic activities and administrative services. The ground breaking ceremony was held at the construction site at the Main Campus and presided over by top management led by the Chancellor Dr. Joseph Wanjui.

The building will have 21 floors with learning facilities to accommodate 3000 students and house the following facilities: the Vice-Chancellor’s Suite, All the Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s Suites, Senate Boardroom, Council Meeting Room, one lecture theatres of 500 persons, four lecture theatres of 300 persons, and several lecture rooms to cater for a minimum of 60 persons, a floor for the Graduate School and a floor for the Graduate School of Business.  It will also have a helipad. The project will be financed mainly by internally generated funds and donations. Leading businessman and philanthropist Manu Chandaria has pledged Kshs 125 million.

The University aims to develop a visionary state-of-the-art tower block leading the way in ecologically sustainable design in its Main Campus.  It is envisaged that the Tower will not only provide the much-needed teaching space but also assert and affirm the position of the University of Nairobi as the leader of architectural thought, innovation and champion towards the provision of environmentally friendly-solutions.  The proposed building will be situated in the open space between the Gandhi Building and Education Building, just adjacent to the Norfolk Fairmont Hotel and Kenya National Theatre.

According to the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. George Magoha, the University of Nairobi, is seeking to construct an ecologically sustainable building to house the top university administrators and several teaching facilities.  The building will be world class particularly in its aesthetics and its environmental design considerations.  It is expected to meet stringent carbon foot print criteria achieving close to 100% carbon neutrality.  The new building will meet the indicated spatial requirements and demonstrate leadership in the development of a holistic green environment and must attain the highest green rating standards globally.  The building will also demonstrate a new approach to workplace design and create a model for others to learn world-class acoustic treatment.                                                                                                                                                      

The building will enhance the quality of outdoor space and the balance between indoor and outdoor spaces.  The University of Nairobi Towers is expected to be an inspiring and attractive showcase of “green” buildings and once realized, the final facility should attain signature status in all aspects of cutting-edge architecture.  The facility will be a place where users shall be proud to undertake world-class scholarly work, receive global leaders, scholars, the private sector, as well as other prominent guests.

The architect for the project is Waweru and Associates who won the project through a an architectural design competition held in November 2011 in an exercise presided over by an international jury, comprising various experts.  The contractor of the project is China Wu Yi and it is being funded by the internally generated funds.