Featured Image Source: Rotsee2, Under Creative Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kenyan_parliament.jpg
At the heart of Kenya’s democracy and national government is the Parliament House in the CBD of Nairobi. Situated on Parliament road the Parliament House is where 222 representatives of the people of Kenya debate and vote on new laws.
In 1951 the architect Amyas Douglas Connell was invited by the colonial British government to design on a Parliament that could deal with the new requirements that an independent country would require. The architect made some designs which were called ‘unBritish, French-influenced and German oriented’ by Charles Hayes. Never the less Connell stuck by his designs but was persuaded by the Government to add a large clock tower who wanted it to look more like Westminster. The first wing was opened in 1954. The British Pathe has a great video of the building in 1954.
The second southern wing was built after Kenya became independent in 1963.
The older part of the building clearly resembles Westminster, interestingly the building’s foundation stone was a stone recovered from the ruins of Westminster after an air raid in 1941. This stone was gifted to the Kenyan Government to signify the strong bond between the UK and her former colony.
The southern wing has a much more Kenyan feel to it in its detailing and design.
The detailing at the end of the southern wing’s curved protrusion has large statues of the Kenyan people in their triumph over the British in gaining their independence.
The building is primarily constructed from natural stone blocks, concrete and glass. The building’s facade is clad to give it its burnt yellow colour. The building is made up of two large halls which are connected via long corridor shaped buildings with the large clock tower as the buildings central pivot point.
The site sits across from Uhuru park within the CBD. The site is enclosed by City-Hall Way, Parliament Road, Harambee Avenue and Uhuru highway.
The clock tower is a masterpiece of design. It’s a landmark that is both subtle and small, but still stately. The clock face is a textbook example of Neo-gothic design. It’s fragile curvy design that dances across the face. It’s delicate and textured face is the central focal point of the building.
The main entrance of the building is grand and points toward the clock face. The entrance always put me in mind of the elephant tusks in Mombasa.
The interior of the building is amazingly beautiful. Covered from wall to wall in the colours of Kenya, red, green, black and white. With a large spear that points towards the central debate table.
The interior was recently given a facelift with a new ventilation system and just generally a good clean up.
The Parliament House in Nairobi is one of the most exquisite buildings in Nairobi. It is at the very heart of the Kenyan democracy and shows the struggle of the Kenyan people and the hope of a brighter future. It is one of the greatest buildings in Nairobi and a must see.
British Pathe, Sikh Heritage, Malcolm McCrow, City Seeker, Standard Media, Natekev, Daily Kenya, Wikimedia (Kenyan Parliament in Nairobi), Archidatum, Places of Power, Archnet, Buildesign, Card Cow, Nairobi Kenya, Kids National Geographic, Post Karten Project