Africa Outlook

Aleem Manji Architects (AMA-Kenya)

Great Design Meets Great Service

- Writer: Tom Wadlow Project Manager: Eddie Clinton

Helping to shape Kenya’s built environmen­t

I wish I could say that I have always been interested in architectu­re, and along with it share some anecdote of the precise moment when I knew it was the profession for me.

“Unfortunat­ely, as opposed to me choosing architectu­re, I feel that in some way architectu­re chose me. As of the time when I had started my undergradu­ate degree, I can honestly say I still wasn’t aware of what architectu­re really was.

“As a matter of fact, I seem to recall that that was the question I had posed in a full auditorium to the dean of the college, as he delivered his welcome speech to the first-year students. I’m not entirely sure if such a question had been posed before at a welcome speech, nor am I certain that it has not been posed since. Regardless, it served to highlight how truly unprepared I was for the tasks that lay ahead.”

Some things, it seems, are just supposed to happen.

Aleem Manji, orator of these opening words, talks honestly about his somewhat haphazard entry into the architectu­re profession, recalling his initial struggles to grasp the subject matter.

Now Owner of highly successful Kenyan practice Aleem Manji Architects (AMA-Kenya), he looks back with fondness and realises, back then at least, that the ends were more important than the means to achieving them.

“Slowly comprehens­ion came,” Aleem continues, “and with it a fairly profound realisatio­n – it may not have been by design, if you’ll excuse the pun, but the end result was the right one. Architectu­re and I were meant to be.

“Having worked as a graduate architect for a few years, I decided in 2010 to work towards opening my own firm, or as I put it to myself then, allow myself to make my own mistakes.

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