Kenya Judicial Architectural Competition

By on March 8, 2013

Courtesy of ‘TOLK’ Team

Designed by a team of graduate students, including Tabitha Nzilani, Obare Joash, Lomole Daniel, and Kuria Eric, their second prize winning proposal in the Judicial Architectural competition embraces the people coming to seek justice. The project invites visitors in through the adoption of a semi-circular form, which is inward curving to the entrance, and vertical elements which are also receding inwards. Anchoring on a central core that has two wings, these wings are representative of the scale of justice: on one side being the law and on the other the deed. More images and architects’ description after the break.


Courtesy of ‘TOLK’ Team

We undertook the competition while we were in our final year (6th Year) at the University of Nairobi, Department of Architecture on the date of 16th March 2012, the Results were announced and presided over by the Kenya’s Chief Justice Dr. Willy Mutunga on the 29th of May 2012. We emerged Position 2. The winner was Architect Anthony Macharia. The Kenya’s Architectural Association cited some contentious issues which are undergoing discussion.


Courtesy of ‘TOLK’ Team

The aim of the competition was to design a visionary architectural and urban design proposal for a sustainable architectural prototype that will be replicated across the country. The location of the site selected can be anywhere within the country – the design layout was therefore be convenient to modify and reproduce under different site and climatic conditions. The ratio and size of the programmatic elements was up to the competitor, however, we were be expected to carry out research in order to justify the design rationale behind the program. The main entrance (front) of the building should was to be designed grand, welcoming and expressive of accessibility and transparency of the Judiciary; other elevations should complement the front entrance


Courtesy of ‘TOLK’ Team

Embracing Justice

Adoption of a semi-circular form which is inward curving to the entrance, showing that, our building is embracing the people coming to seek for justice. And by having vertical elements receding inwards terms of elevation to the entrance; embracing the seeker of justice into the building.


Courtesy of ‘TOLK’ Team

Equity through Symmetry and Equity versus Equality

Anchoring on a central core that has two wings, these wings are representative of the scale of justice: on one side being the law and on the other the deed The varying measure of the effect of the law was represented by the fact that on either wings the spaces were not equally distributed but were distributed according to the functions they were to carry out- thus bringing the place value of equity not equality in the search for justice.


Courtesy of ‘TOLK’ Team


The inclusion of the glass on the exterior that is shaded by the massive columns is an interpretation of transparency. The use of a lattice: that is somehow visually permeable but also blocks some views. This is a representation of the various aspects of the law which may allow for complete transparency but also hide some things for the implementation of Justice.


Courtesy of ‘TOLK’ Team


One of these was the appreciation of a tree where traditional courts would be carried out. Our interpretation was to actually have a tree within our court house that would be a place where traditional courts would be carried out. On this tree would be hanged the artifacts of the people of the counties. The lattice work was inspired by the kiondo showing the importance of the women folk in the spheres of justice. Based on the phrase in our anthem ‘Justice be our shield and defender’ we have the wall as a remembrance that our courts should serve their purpose of justice to the counties


The prototype proposed site was Nairobi and environs, the area lies under the tropical upland climate, through a checklist established from some of the Major Green rating tools we addressed a number of issues including Natural ventilation, designing for water efficiency, proposed efficient use of materials, and the area lies along the equator hence sunlight throughout the year, the design proposal was to have solar energy harvesting and solar water heating to reduce demand of energy on the National Grid.

Design Team: TOLK Team (Tabitha Nzilani – G. Architect, Symbion International; Obare Joas – G. Architect Symbion International; Lomole Daniel – G. Architect S.Sudan; Kuria Eric – G. Architect, Jaw-Kim Architects)
Location: Kenya
Status: 2nd prize

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