One Africa Place

Africa Outlook - - Contents - Writ­ten by: Phoebe Calver

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.

An­drey Lyu­bi­mov

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