One Africa Place
Construction in Namibia is establishing its creative flair
One Africa Place is a development management firm with more than 10 years of experience in delivering market-leading products, providing the Kenyan construction market with excellent service.
The site owners wanted to build an iconic office of the future, creating a building that wouldn’t be out of place in New York or Hong Kong both visually and functionally. The original brief provided to the architect was to design something that a passer-by would stop in their tracks to look at, and in addition they were tasked with building an office that would deliver for tenants in providing productivity, image, convenience, efficiency and sustainability.
Once a conceptual direction for the project was settled on and the development organisers put together a design and engineering team that could deliver on both these fronts, the project was taken from concept to completion in five-and-a-half-years.
Andrey Lyubimov of One Africa
Place talks us through the plans for the future of the development.
Q Africa Outlook (AfO): Throughout the project’s evolution, what have been the main continuous improvement strategies and philosophies of One Place Africa to achieve the success that it has done?
Andrey Lyubimov (AL): The main strategy was to remain true to the scope we had defined at the beginning of the project, taking no shortcuts during the process.
We strived to maintain the highest international standards in design, choice of materials, technology and the quality of implementation.
The Kenyan construction market is extremely conservative and in many ways resistant to change, therefore, wherever we couldn’t find the necessary expertise, skill or technology locally, we would bring it in from abroad.
Q AfO: One Place Africa has been labelled as part of the new wave of high-value projects that is reshaping African business, so could you provide us with some details of what the project will give to the business world specifically?
AL: Our project set new benchmarks across the board for design, engineering and construction in East Africa, including facilities for hydraulic parking, façade systems and biometric access control. Each of the public areas have been designed by an awardwinning international firm that is usually responsible for luxury hotels.
It shows what can be achieved when we combine local capabilities and ambition with international technology and best practice, led by Kenyan developers and architects that have utilised expertise and technology from across the world. This is a truly international building, from its façade system designed in South Africa and manufactured in Italy, to the German parking technology made in India.
Developments such as this send out an important message, clearly demonstrating that things are happening in East Africa and we are open for business and aiming high. We believe that Nairobi’s skyline will be unrecognisable in 10-15 years time, and subsequently the scope for similar projects is immense and exciting.
Q AfO: On a general note, what would you say defines One Place Africa among new developments in the market?
AL: One of the common mistakes made by developers in the region is that they rely on the visual impact of a building, rather than on the substance of the building. There are many buildings that look good from a distance, but as you move closer and begin to look inside the inefficiencies become obvious. For example, impractical floor layouts, low ceilings, mediocre finishes, non-soundproofed glazing, inadequate building services, compromises on fire safety, low parking ratios and a general lack of attention to detail.
The One Africa Place development is transforming Nairobi’s skyline and providing its residents with a truly iconic business address
“...we can proudly say that our development is not only an architectural landmark that is reshaping the Nairobi skyline, but a truly grade A building”
When designing One Africa Place we were keen to address these issues and now we can proudly say that our development is not only an architectural landmark that is reshaping the Nairobi skyline, but a truly grade A building. One Africa Place has an abundance of parking, excellent high ceilings, efficient and flexible floor plans, state-of-the-art security and fire safety systems, located in arguably the best location in Nairobi.
Q AfO: Looking forward, if we were to speak again in three to five years time, what would you hope and expect to be able to report back in terms of project development?
AL: Firstly, we would hope that One Africa Place is able to meet customers’ requirements, providing them with the best working experience possible. The tenant experience is what matters and in three to five years we hope that One Africa will be a bustling hub for
We then hope to see far better connectivity and integration with our neighbours and the wider area, but in order to achieve that developers and property owners need to work closely to improve the overall experience for residents in Nairobi.
Being able to seamlessly walk from One Africa Place to the IBIS Styles and Westgate would add vast amounts of value to residents’ lives, and subsequently stimulate economic growth. In order to achieve that we will create well-lit secure footpaths and bridges, direct access between buildings and improved traffic flow; all of which will be implemented in a three to five-year time-frame.
Lastly, we expect other developers to try and match or exceed the standards set at One Africa Place in their own projects; competition is healthy and will inevitably lead to growing professionalism across developers, contractors and consultants alike.
We are working on two projects at present that are even more ambitious than One Africa Place, and we are excited to see how they progress from here.