What Inspired the Shape of Nairobi’s tall building KICC? Architect Reveals

A few years ago, Kenya’s first African Chief Architect David Mutiso revealed how he was inspired by a donkey’s erect penis in designing the iconic Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) in 1968.

Mr Mutiso was contacted by then Kanu Secretary General Tom Mboya to design the headquarter of the then ruling party.

Eventually, the architects ended up with the iconic design of the building that was for the longest time the country’s tallest building.

“They wanted to build a headquarter for Kanu. We started sketching, initially it was a simple four-storey building, it evolved with time. Every time we showed the President, he asked us to go higher and eventually we ended up with 17 floors,” he said.

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Mr Mutiso explained how he worked closely with Norwegian architect Karl Henrik Nøstvik who was a consultant architect contracted for the project.

“The initial tower was inspired by a donkey’s penis,” Mutiso explained as his eyes lit up.

The construction was done in three phases. First they started with the podium, then the tower and later the plenary at a total cost of Sh80 million.

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