KCB Headquarters in Upper Hill

KCB Headquarters in Upper Hill

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An artists impression of the upcoming KCB Headquarters in Upperhill
An artists impression of the upcoming KCB Headquarters in Upperhill

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.

An artists impression of the upcoming KCB Headquarters in Upperhill
An artists impression of the upcoming KCB Headquarters in Upperhill

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.

An artists impression of the upcoming KCB Headquarters in Upperhill
An artists impression of the upcoming KCB Headquarters in Upperhill

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.

Ongoing works on the shell of the KCB Headquarters
Ongoing works on the shell of the KCB Headquarters

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.

The Team:

  • 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

12 COMMENTS

  1. There is no mention whatsoever of the professional teams involved in this project. And no layouts to illustrate how sustainability is actually designed for. Even the perspectives are "an artists impression" and yet we know they are computer generated 3D images. Please. This article implies that professionals are mysterious or criminal and do not deserve the questioning of or notable mention for their work.

  2. "Archdips Dipsy" what exactly is characteristic of an architect? Tell me preferably with reference to Cap 525 of the Laws of Kenya…

  3. What is sustainable about it? Don't use the term sustainability to explain the reasons why you put fins on the walls that increased the cost of construction of the project whereas the client just wanted a working space.

    Talk about the capital energy, energy embodied in the materials and building processes, we are talking of Reinforced Concrete, RC is not a sustainable material, look at the process of acquiring the steel, the cement and the ballast, it is not sustainable and those materials are not renewable.

    Tell me if the following materials are not used in the construction, yet they have the highest KWh/kg Granite, cement, Glass, PVC pipes, Aluminium etc.

    Consider the Damage to the environment in the extraction of raw material, Abundance of source or.
    renewability of material, Air pollution in manufacture and production, Energy used for transportation.
    to the site, Energy use in and effects of demolition at end of life cycle, Recyclability of demolished.
    material.

    If the design meets this few criterias, we are okay and on record at liberty to call it Sustainable, otherwise, it is just another building in town.

  4. More and more it becomes clear that the only thing that is not boring about a tall building/tower design is the fees you get paid… some international firms try making towers different but they still remain boring… I also don't know how not to make a boring tower…
    hehehe baptism by fire I see, came to learn this is the best way to learn… I also dread it… You should design/decide your headlines after you finish the articles… I also felt misled a while back by a no. of articles you have published…
    But I have to commend you for the forum here… and the research and always getting interesting material…
    Remember we are judging you by international standards no less, even knowing the labour force and skillset it takes to run operations like dezeen.com/ archdaily and the rest is no mean feat…

  5. The Team:

    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

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