Chinese contractor's at the centre of changing skyline
28 July 2014, 22:45
Nairobi - The skyline of the country's capital city is changing fast and at the center of this transformation are Chinese
Several buildings that once graced the city's skyline as the
tallest are losing the coveted spot as new ones being constructed by the
Chinese take over.
Out are going Times Tower, Kenyatta International Conference
Center (KICC), Nyayo House, Anniversary Towers and I&M Bank Tower and in
are coming Hazina Towers, UAP Towers and University of Nairobi Towers.
The Times Tower, which was constructed in 1997, stands at 38
floors. It remains the tallest building in the capital Nairobi, but this is not
a position it will continue to hold in the next few years as a 40-floor
building is under construction.
KICC, the iconic building in the heart of Nairobi's central
business district stands at 32 floors, the second tallest currently.
The building, constructed in 1974, is as old as millions of
Nairobi residents, who have visited it to look at its round structure.
But time for KICC and Times Tower, among others, to grace
Nairobi's skyline is up. New glass-glittering buildings are coming up fast and
it is the Chinese who are constructing them.
Top on the list is Hazina Towers in the heart of Nairobi's
central business district. The building whose construction is underway will
have 40 floors, and once completed in 2016, it will be the fourth tallest in
It will cost National Social Security Fund (NSSF), the
owners, 82 million U.S. dollars, according to Kenya's Labor Cabinet Secretary
Kazungu Kambi. The project is being undertaken by construction firm China
The contractors note some of the architectural features the
building will have are a vegetated roof terrace, an atrium, a helipad, a
gallery where residents can sit and the city's skyline and a fitted glazing to
reduce solar heat.
The design of the architectural masterpiece is inspired by
the outline of a young Maasai warrior standing on one leg and leaning on a
spear. The Maasai products is Kenya's number one tourism export commodity.
The image of a Maasai donned in a red-checked shuka
(wrapper), a spear on one hand and wearing sandals made from tyres is one that
is familiar with tourists who have visited Kenya or who wish to visit the East
The building is expected to be completed in two year's time.
A visit to the site of the building shows construction is ongoing in earnest.
One can see heavy construction machinery that includes
cranes swinging from one part of the building to the other.
Less than 200 meters from Hazina Towers is University of
Nairobi Towers, which is also under construction.
The 21-story building, as others coming up in Nairobi, is
being undertaken by a Chinese contractor. China Wu Yi Co. Ltd is expected to
complete the building in next two years.
"Since the ground breaking ceremony on May 17, 2013,
construction work on the University of Nairobi Towers has progressed unstopped.
The 21-story building is expected to transform the city's skyline with its
futuristic look," says a recent brief from the university.
The 26-million-dollar towers will host administrative
offices, lecture theatres and a helipad, and will be the tallest building in
institutions of higher learning in Kenya.
"The Chinese have done well in road projects, at a
lower cost. No one can thus doubt their work in the sector. It is the reason
they are winning tenders for nearly all major construction projects in the
country," said Antony Kuyo, a real estate consultant with Avent
Kuyo predicted that the Chinese will change Nairobi's
skyline at least in the next two decades as relations between Kenya and China