• Australian High Commission / Planning Systems Services

Architects: Planning Systems Services  
Location: Nairobi,  Kenya
Project Year: 1993
Photographer: Planning Systems Services

Quantity Surveyor: DG Jones

Designed in 1987 for the Government of Australia, this building, on Riverside Drive, Nairobi exists entirely as a result of the efforts of Planning Systems Services and the Quantity Surveyors D G Jones.

Australian High Commission / Planning Systems Services

Knowing that the High Commission wished to move out of the City Centre, the two practices identified the Riverside Drive site, introduced the landowners to the High Commission, and negotiated the construction finance.

Australian High Commission / Planning Systems Services

The major theme of the design features treated eucalyptus poles as external columns interspersed with large glass panels, overlooking the well treed site.

Eucalyptus, indigenous to Australia and imported into East Africa in the late 1890's for fuel wood, have grown magnificently in Kenya since then and have become a major part of the city landscape, being used throughout East Africa for power and telephone cable poles.

Australian High Commission / Planning Systems Services

This project is very symbolic and has embedded meaning in its choice of materials. However its stands out independent of this symbolism and anyone will relate to it as a successful project both in its context and as a diplomatic solution. It has so much design value that it still stands out as one of the best design in its locality despite being relatively old.

Australian High Commission / Planning Systems Services

Its stark combination of natural materials and off the shelf materials is matched by few and it’s a timeliness reminder to designers that great solutions are not necessarily far-fetched but are rather informed combination of the available tech, materials and skills.

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