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The Parliment building of the Ugandan government sits in the heart of Kampala and is built a few streets over from the main railway station. The building sits between Parliamentary Avenue, Said Barre Road, Nile Avenue and Kimathi Avenue. The building consists of 350 rooms and construction was started in 1958. The building was designed by Peatfield and Bodgener a British Ugandan architecture firm. Peatfield and Bodgener is the largest architecture firm in Uganda and one of the oldest in the country.
The building has three wings, a North, South and East Wing. The North wing houses offices for the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, MPs and for Staff. It also houses the Parliamentary Libary. The South wing of the parliament houses the Clerk to the Parliament, senior staff and the Public Relations office. The East Wing houses the Chamber where votes are held and discussions about new legislation.
The building has a total volume of 75,900 m3. There are 386 members of the parliament. The building was built when Uganda was still a protectorate of the British Empire. One of the few things the British government did to ready the country for independence. Once the country did finally become independent in 1962. To mark this occasion the Independence Arc was added to the entrance of the Parliment building. The first stone was laid by the first Prime Minster of Uganda Dr. Apollo Milton Obote. The Arch covers the main entrance and pathway to the doors of the building.
The parliament sits on a large plot of land in the city centre with gardens, parking spaces and other ministries in the vicinity. The Parliament is open to the public but one must send a letter beforehand to discuss times and dates.
The building is interesting for a number of reasons. The most striking among them is the white colour. The building has 7 floors and has a strict pattern for the placement of the windows. The windows are long and thin and a set up in a grid. The building has an orthogonal form both in plan and in silhouette. The building reminds me a lot of the Stadhuis Den Haag designed by Richard Meier and completed in 1995. The buildings have the same white exterior and grid of windows although Richard Meier does use more angles and curves in his buildings.
This strict grid of windows gives the building a very authoritative look, it follows the same ideas as Neo-classicistic buildings, of symmetry and rhythm in the facade. The building like all good modernist buildings is white and this gives it a sense of the divine.
The buildings has little ornamentation but does have a large water tower in the centre which is where the eyes are imminently drawn too when looking at the building.
When entering the plot of land through the Independence Arch one is led over a large walkway the building. Before entering the building one must walk up the stairs onto the plateau on which the building stands. Around the main entrance is a large white arch. The arch seems to be inspired by Egyptian temple entrances. In the centre of the arch on a large black stamp stands the crest of Uganda. After all this one enters the centre of government for the Ugandan people.