East Africa’s Architectural Innovators
Writer: Phoebe Calver
Project Manager: Kane Weller
Triad Architects’ design experience is as wide ranging and innovative as would be expected of a practice with well over 3,900 projects under its belt. Since formation in 1963 it has been firmly placed at the forefront of the architectural profession in Kenya and East Africa.
The Triad office has become embedded in Nairobi’s history, having been located in its present address since 1963, where it houses a team of architects, interior designers, architectural assistants, construction managers, project secretaries, accountants, IT managers and various support staff who make up the team. The well established Triad Nairobi retains active associations with the practices in Kampala, Dar es Salaam, Johannesburg, London, Kigali and Chicago, all of which are unified by the mission to provide innovative and creative architectural solutions.
During the 50 years since formation, Triad has successfully designed and delivered nearly 4,000 projects in a wide range of typologies - no mean feat in such a competitive industry - including master plans, hotels, office and urban developments, residential, shopping malls, industrial and corporate interior projects.
“We pride ourselves on the maintenance of a clear corporate governance structure, becoming the first Kenyan architectural practice to attain ISO certification in the year 2000,” begins Julius Kibwage, Partner at Triad Architects. “There is a great amount of pride in the team of experienced, technically qualified and highly trained staff we have developed over the years, and they are the key to the success of both our Company and the projects we undertake.”
The unrivalled quality of Triad’s projects bear testimony to the standards of the Company, guaranteeing quality in design, programming, cost-control and the effective management of contracts.
“Triad employs architects of the highest calibre to maintain these standards and ensure that in-service training is used to develop the skill level of all staff,” explains Kibwage. “The collaboration with other overseas professionals over the years has ensured that our staff have enjoyed the benefits of technology transfer during various large-scale projects, to be harnessed in future developments.”
Over the years, schools and educational buildings have formed a key part of Triad’s portfolio, including university buildings, teacher training colleges and primary and secondary schools. A couple of particularly prominent projects in education have included primary teacher training facilities at Narok and Murang’a in Kenya, and new facilities for Peponi Preparatory and Secondary School.
Other institutional work has included 12 administration complexes for Kenya Wildlife Service throughout Kenya, a new pharmaceutical distribution centre for the Joint Medical Store in Uganda, and the Orthopaedic Rehabilitation Hospital at Kikuyu for the Medical Benevolence Foundation of America.
“We have been blessed with the ability to work with some huge industry names since the Company opened its doors,” continues Kibwage. “Working on the developments for one of the largest malls in Eastern Africa - Garden City, and regional headquarter complexes of corporates like UAP-Old Mutual Group, Barclays Bank Kenya, De la Rue Plc, Britam Insurance and Sanlam - our projects have blossomed in size and expanded in the markets we wish to work in.”
The Company’s design skills have extended to hotels and refurbishments, including such projects as Severin Sea Lodge and other refurbishment works including the reconstruction of the Ministry of Finance, Treasury and the IPS building in Kampala.
Kibwage adds: “Similarly to the amount of work involving educational institutions, the interior design of both offices and banks forms a large proportion of Triad’s workload, including well-known companies and organisations such as Shell, Barclays Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and World Bank.”
Mark of quality
It is no surprise, considering Triad’s long-established history, deep knowledge of local industry, and delivery of functional, economical and environmentally responsive solutions, that it is one of a few firms to have attained and maintained ISO registration.
Kibwage affirms: “We achieved ISO 9000 certification in June, 2000, after a particularly hard year of training and preparation, making us the first architectural practice located in East Africa to obtain this accolade.”
Since its original certification, Triad has obtained re-certification six times, each time updating its systems to meet the highest possible standards in the industry, fitting of its skill and precision as a Company.
“In May, 2016 when we became the first organisation in Kenya to be recertified on the ISO 9001:2015 standard, it was both a timely and firm confirmation of Triad’s long standing tenets on leadership, planning and a well-appointed organisational structure which are pivotal to the success of all projects,” explains Kibwage. “We are incredibly committed to maintaining this mark of quality as a demonstration of Triad’s dedication to consistency in providing quality services that meet our clients’ requirements.”
Capitalise on opportunities
The Company has a long and exciting list of projects which are both taking place at present and in the pipeline; all of which perfectly demonstrate the Company’s aptitude for taking on a wide variety of jobs.
“The Avic Headquarters has been a very exciting project for the Company to work on, as a mixed development project that will comprise offices, a hotel and apartments which are to be located along Chiromo Road in Nairobi,” Kibwage says. “It is a large project and has huge potential due in part to the companies we are working with on it. The 43 storey office tower is proposed to be the Africa HQ of Avic International, while the 35 storey hotel tower will be under the operation of Marriot Hotels.”
On a slightly smaller scale, the Britam Tower is nearing completion in the Upper Hill area of Nairobi and is a commercial investment from British American Insurance Company - one of the leading insurance companies in Kenya - and when completed, the tower will stand at 31 storeys, with an area of 31,500 square metres of office space.
“Our commitment is not limited simply to the architecture industry, and of course within those parameters we try to capitalise on opportunities to work on projects which will best benefit the community we have worked in for so many years,” concludes Kibwage. “Looking forward we are excited to progress with regional expansion, developing active offices in various East African capitals and more of a presence in Southern and Western Africa; making for a very exciting next few years for our Company.”