Hope you’re doing great.Today I thought you’d have a break from me and asked my good friend Sally Shomba to take over. I hope you enjoy.
When Brenda asked me to write on my top 5 buildings in both the architecture and interior sense, the first thought that crossed my mind was …How? There are so many? Top 5 in the world? Because of that and my love for local tourism, I decided to write on my unconventional top 5 buildings in Kenya.
- Coca-Cola East & Central Africa Head Office
Designed by GAAP Architects and Urban designers of South Africa in association with Triad Architects. This Contemporary building was completed in August 2008, and is located in Upperhill, Nairobi. The circular concept was derived from the Coca-Cola brand ribbon or DNA to achieve the moon-like shape.
Why in my top 5 you ask? From the Tripple Volume ceilings, to the large windows that all face North and the simplistic design of the interior pieces, this is both a unique and exquisite building that I literally fell in love with from the first time I saw it. And to top it off it is a ‘green’ building, from its solar heating panels, to power conservation devices and rain water harvesting. It is a piece of artwork all on its own.
- UAP TOWERS
If you get to know me very well, then you will definitely hear me going on and on and on about this building from when they started constructing it. For one, it got my curiosity when I found out that it was to be the tallest building in Kenya. And yes, as per completed buildings it is. I have a friend who will argue and has been arguing with me that the tallest building is the Hass tower, but ‘my friend’ since it is not complete, right now the tallest building in Kenya is UAP Towers at 133m high. And how beautiful is it, in its symmetry of balance.
Designed by the Boogertman + Partners/Triad Architects, completed in 2015, this building located in Upperhill is definitely in my top 5. I am not usually a fan of small windows, but in this building I love its systematic repetition throughout the building. The buildings elements all co-exist in a peaceful way.
- THE MIRAGE
Designed by the Riayn development group, located on Chiromo rd, Westlands. The Mirage was completed in 2015. It was designed from a concept of sails, and one cannot help themselves but fall in love with its beauty. Its glass facade produces majority of natural lighting in its interior, and also gives the exterior of the building a luxurious finish.
Now I’m sure we have all heard about or been to sovereign suites, located in Red hill, Kiambu. Yes? Well just a little history about it, before it became opened to the public as Sovereign suites in 2002, it was the late Kanyotu’s palatial home. Kanyotu, the Director of Secret Intelligence for 27years, acquired it from the white settlers in 1965 as his office and matrimonial home. Now before I bore you with too much history, I just want you to appreciate the fact that this house has been erect for more than half a century. Even with the renovations done, you have to appreciate the longevity of colonial architecture.
You know the phrase, ‘what makes you beautiful is what you have on the inside’, well this perfectly explains the sovereign suites. You fall in love with its magnificent columns, arcs, fountains until you get into the building and literally fall deeper in love with the high wooden ceilings, the wooden clad walls, the wooden floors, the colonial furniture,the grand chandeliers.Nothing I can write can explain to you the beauty and elegance of this building so have a look yourself.
- AFRICAN HERITAGE HOUSE
Yes I Saved the best for last.This house was designed by Alan Donovan who co-founded the African Heritage Pan African galleries with Murumbi and his wife Sheila Murumbi. It is located along Mombasa rd, Mlolongo. Alan Donovan traveled across the sahara in the year 1969, where he learned different mud architecture styles from different communities and incorporated it into this house. It is designed with a combination of Swahili architecture from the East African Coast and the ‘lost’ mud styles from West Africa. It is a piece of art in its own self. It houses about 50years of African history collected throughout the years, as well as collections of books, textiles, artifacts from Murumbi and his wife.
This house for me is my best in Kenya, it speaks to my soul, from the large windows, the african décor with calabashes and artifacts throughout the house…this house is AFRICA. As Alan Donovan said, ‘Yet, wherever we are in the world ,everyone of us had an African ancestor….’
Sally Shomba, an interior designer and founder of Mic’ore interiors, based in Nairobi Kenya.
Has a passion for discovering and learning different Architecture and Interior styles through her day to day works and travels. Sally can be reached through her email firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook account Sally Shomba.