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Will Alsop’s final project wins approval

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A major shopping and office centre in Nairobi – one of Will Alsop’s last projects before his death in May – has been approved

With its sweet factory themed design, the Beacon scheme in the Kenyan capital will be his practice, aLL Design’s, first project in the country, and the late architect’s only ever building in Africa.

The open-air mall will feature 24,300m² of shops and restaurants together with a 4,200 m², seven-storey office tower which will overlook the centre’s roof garden and bar.

Alsop, who died aged 70 following a short illness, had been working on the ‘vividly coloured’ scheme since January. It will be built on a site between the central business district, the city’s industrial area and the Upper Hill financial district.

According to the practice, the ‘striking patterns of the façade will hint at the amusements and leisure facilities inside’. The project includes a light monorail with ‘jellybean’-style carriages, a helter-skelter, a piano staircase and a merry-go-round.

‘Playful twists on form and function will fulfil Alsop’s desire that architecture should always be fun,’ it said.

Externally the façade facing the Uhuru Highway will be clad in monochromatic porcelain panels ‘broken by a bright red leisure box’. A thatched rooftop restaurant will sit on a biodiverse brown roof.

The project is set to open in spring 2020.

Project data

Location Uhuru Highway, Nairobi, Kenya
Type of project Mixed-use retail, office & leisure
Client Kiloran
Architect aLL Design – Will Alsop, Marcos Rosello, Lucy Atlee, Amanda Callaghan, Kate Tseng, Ned Drury, Tom Bower, Helen Lee, Daniel Lee, Jacob Dix
Local Architect: DMJ
Landscape architect aLL Design
Structural engineer Anguloraso
M&E consultant Anguloraso
Quantity surveyor Anguloraso
Funding Confidential
Start on site date Autumn 2018
Completion date Due spring 2020
Total area 28,500m²
Total cost Confidential

‘It falls on the verge of wallpaper’. Alsop in front of Large Decoration with Masks (1953). Image: Anthony Coleman

‘It falls on the verge of wallpaper’. Alsop in front of Large Decoration with Masks (1953). Image: Anthony Coleman

‘It falls on the verge of wallpaper’. Alsop in front of Large Decoration with Masks (1953). Image: Anthony Coleman

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Hopefully this won’t be the last building from the aLL Design Studio. His scheme for housing alongside the M4 in Brentford was called in this year by the London Mayor, and although not as striking and innovative as originally proposed, it will perhaps get consent, despite the downturn in the housing market. And if the Chiswick Curve gets permission it will help change things? Possibly for the worse, with the NIMBY party in the ascendant? And then the proposed 3rd runway at Heathrow will pour more ordure on a difficult part of London westwards.

    Central, Local Government and local residents continue to show a complete lack of imagination, or even care? Some God help us.

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