The New Swiss Embassy in the Kenyan Capital of Nairobi, designed by the Lucerne-based ro.ma. architekten, is an architecturally superior building that represents Switzerland in an appropriate way. At the same time, it incorporates local building practices and local companies and manages to bring together the required aspects of functionality, safety and sustainability in a coherent spatial structure.
By allowing the actual building to grow out of the enclosing wall (required for compound security), a spiral spatial relationship is created that frames the entire compound, culminating in the central two-story structure. The twisting, multifaceted shape of the building respects the existing distinctive tree-filled landscape. It responds to the slightly sloping north facing site with a split-level arrangement of the floors. The reception hall connects the mezzanine sections of the building and forms the hub of the complex.
The East African countryside is reflected in the individual character of the building, particularly in the red-brown pigmentation of the exposed concrete of the outer façade and perimeter wall. Thus, the building takes on the color of the so-called coffee soil, the earth found throughout Kenya’s capital, which owes its rich red hue to the high iron content. The generously dimensioned windows are another striking feature, framed with geometrical projections that provide shade on the façade. The glass surfaces reflect the vegetation and make the building itself a part of the landscape.
Design and info © ro.ma. architekten
Images © Iwan Baan and Fabio Idini