The brief was short, simple and to the point. The client required the design and construction of an environmentally friendly tower for the Bank’s headquarters in Upper Hill Nairobi.
The overall design concept for the project has been influenced mainly by the various factors at play. The client needed to utilize full potential of their plot for the project to make economic sense. The site is however located on a flight path and this posed a height limitation. A balance had to be struck to satisfy both critical conditions.
After considering various alternatives, a triangular shaped tower block was arrived at, soaring 25 levels to provide the highest point in the city, at least for the moment.
The new headquarters for the Kenya Commercial Bank will house a state of the art banking hall, personal banking facilities, administrative offices and conference facilities for meetings, conventions and workshops. The building will provide 800SQM of office space per level, and about 400 car parking on five parking levels.
The location of the site, along Kenya Road in Upper Hill, is in line with Nairobi’s urban shift where businesses now prefer Upper Hill to the CBD due to the availability of space and reduced challenges associated with the CBD where access and parking pose a great challenge. As a result, Upper Hill is emerging as the next business hub in Nairobi with an unmatched level of development currently ongoing.
The non frontal triangular shaped plan was intended to give all facades of the building prominence since a triangle has no front or back. This was to pose another great challenge; the building was, to a large extent, exposed to the glaring rays of the sun. The heat gain had to be contained at the minimum while allowing maximum daylight into the building. Use of mechanical ventilation systems was not an option.
The result was a fully sun-shaded office spaces achieved by the solar control envelope, which comprises vertical and horizontal Aluminium fins. An atrium and triple storey landscaped sky courts will allow for natural ventilation.
To further improve on day lighting, there is extensive use of light reflecting metallic silver finish on the solar shading fins, use of high light transmittance glass and louvered horizontal shading.
The horizontal shading components will also act as maintenance platforms, providing a sustainable all-round solution.
Exposed concrete waffles floor system provide for adequate thermal mass, absorbing internally generated heat during the day and getting cooled during the night. Three sky courts, each within the three “fire compartments” created to limit the spread of fire and smoke, will allow air movement into the building and up through the atrium.
Rainwater collection (and treatment) and a water recycling will ensure low running costs.
The building is serviced by seven high speed lifts, six main lifts (two of which are dedicated for firefighting) and one for the VIP. The last lift is dedicated for the disabled, providing access from the ground to the podium level. The main entry to the building will be at the Podium level.
The hard Upper Hill bed rock provided the biggest challenge during the early months of the construction works. This called for ingenious ideas in recovering lost time. The use of a precast concrete waffle floor system coupled with 24hour working days ensured speedier construction, with a floor completed in every 10 days.
The core and shell of the building is set to be completed in early 2013.
- Architects – Planning Systems Services Ltd
- Environmental Design Engineers – ARUP
- Quantity Surveyors – Armstrong & Duncan
- Structural Engineers – Baseplan Associates
- Services Engineers – EAMS
- Project Managers – Pinnacle Projects Lts
- Main Contractors – China Wu Yi Kenya Ltd