Renovation and expansion of the conference facilities at the United Nations Office at Nairobi, Kenya – Proposal

The United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON), the UN headquarters in Africa, was established by the General Assembly in 1996. Renovation and expansion are required due to the deteriorating conditions and the limited capacity of the conference services facility.

Our proposal seeks to answer this complex request by imagining a “tailor-made project” focuses on the symbolic and environmental value of the Karura forest, which will be the guiding element of the design.

The desire to transform the UN Compound in Nairobi into a representative “object”, recognizable and comparable to the large offices in New York, Geneva must deal with the currently fragmented and without hierarchy morphology; made up of heterogeneous buildings, places and spaces created with different building methods, “styles”, and times.

Our proposal, therefore, is to explore the idea of an “new iconic contemporary building”: a “light, flexible, iridescent, a-monumental”, alternative to what has been achieved so far in the valuable works of the main offices of UN (result of linear thought). The project action, is based on a “light” ordering system capable of reorganizing the existing space and that of the new project, giving a solid identification for the entire complex.

An iconic infrastructural system (made of colour, natural elements and energy infrastructural elements) that will make the entire complex legible, in its heterogeneity and richness, giving hierarchy to spaces and buildings. This iconic infrastructural system will also allow for future developments in continuity and homogeneity while keeping the iconic value of the complex intact.

This approach will generate a master plan conceived as a flexible living organism that can adapt and react to the rapid social and environmental changes that the climate and globalized society will induce. The proposed intervention will be a point of reference capable of conveying, with concrete actions, the vision of the UN on energy, living, uses, food, and mobility, a pilot project for integrated environmental requalification processes.

  • Place: Nairobi, Kenya
    Client: United Nations Office at Nairobi, Kenya
    Status: Proposal
    Design: TAMassociati
    Team: Climosfera srl (Team Leader), TAMassociati (Architectural design), Tekno Consultancy (PM, Structural engineering)