Few buildings inspire awe and respect like KICC. Ever since it was built in the early 1970s, KICC continues to be one of the most iconic buildings in the country.
The edifice’s design is weaved around the African traditional hut and is arguably Nairobi’s main reference point having featured in almost every postcard and local postage stamps.
Hordes of street photographers have made the building their perfect backdrop as pose for the city’s iconic image. But did you know the brains behind this architectural masterpiece? Two names that feature prominently are those of architect David Mutiso, the first African member of the Architectural Association of Kenya and Karl Henrik Nøstvik. Mutiso was also the first African chief architect at the Ministry of Public Works. According to Buildesign magazine, the then Kanu Secretary General Tom Mboya, informed Mutiso in 1968, that Kanu intended to erect a building to house the independence party.
The two men worked together to come up with designs that were discussed with the party’s top brass including President Jomo Kenyatta on a weekly basis. This resulted in laying the foundation stone by the president in December 1967. It was opened on September 11, 1973. The 30-storey building was designed with a restaurant at the topmost level that revolves every 55 minutes, giving patrons various views of the city.
Mounts Kenya and Kilimanjaro are visible from atop the building on clear days. It is also the first building in the city to have a helipad at the top. For decades, the building housed the independence party with President Daniel Moi being a regular guest to the building. When Mwai Kibaki took over as president, KICC was wrestled from Kanu and is now a government facility housing many international organisations. Interestingly, Kibaki was the Finance minister during the construction phase.