Dynamism, Integrity and Design Excellence
Maestro Architects was founded in the year 2004, when two architects merged their private practices in order to make a formidable team and venture more into the corporate world and government projects. It was officially registered on 15th February 2005.The founding partners, Architect Charles Ogeto and Architect Kimathi Itaru, had earlier met in 1995 at Githunguri and Partners Architects, where Charles was a junior architect and Kimathi was then a student on attachment programme from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).
Charles was to stay at Githunguri and Partners until the year 2001, and having graduated with a bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Nairobi (UoN) in 1994, it became obvious that he now needed to venture out on his own, equipped with lifelong skills imported under the tutelage of Architect Geoffrey Ngugi Githunguri, a respected architect and fellow member of AAK.
Architect Kimathi Itaru now has over 12 years post registration experience, having graduated in 1998 with a bachelors of architecture degree from JKUAT, and joined Aaki Architects for a short stint under Architect Francis Mungai, a renowned Architect and university lecturer. Kimathi soon sat his BORAQS exams in 2001 and was registered with the Board. He has also trained and is certified as a lead auditor with NEMA (National Environment Management Authority).
One day, in early December of 2004, the two met for a cup of tea with one agenda in mind, and the rest is history. Charles is poetic whilst Kimathi is practical and business oriented and the idea of “master builders” came up – an architectural studio that has mastered the art of building and designing iconic structures yet environmentally and culturally responsive works of architecture with a poetic tinge! And yes, “maestro” architects was born!
Architect Charles Ogeto has now over 15 years post registration experience, having sat the BORAQS registration exams in 1996, four years after graduating from the University of Nairobi and a Diploma in Management from Kenya Institute of Management (KIM) in 1997. In addition, Charles is a member of the Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK), BORAQS as well as a board of governors’ member in several schools.
Maestro Architects, a limited liability company, currently has two directors, Architects Charles Ogeto and Kimathi Itaru with 80 percent shareholding. The directors are assisted by two architects – Mr. Ezra Kiprotich Langat who has a Bachelors degree in Architecture and a Masters in Project Management from the University of Nairobi as well as NEMA lead auditor certification from Nazerene University and Mr. Eric Kimani Gikera who recently completed his studies at JKUAT and qualified with a Bachelor of architecture degree. The firm also has two qualified and experienced technicians – Mr. Evan Murimi and Mr. Patrick Gitau, who studied architecture and building construction at KIHBT where they obtained their Diploma in architecture. The practice has a long serving secretary and office administrator, Mrs. Beatrice Ogwora and two other subordinate staff. In total, Maestro Architects Ltd have 4 architects, 2 technicians and 3 support staff and students on attachment.
Maestro Architects are at the forefront of supporting and encouraging architectural education. The practice has always had very good relations with universities and colleges training architecture and building construction in Kenya. Every year, the firm takes on board and trains at least four students on their mandatory attachment programme from Technical University of Kenya (TUK), Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), University of Nairobi (UoN), Kenya Institute of Highways and Building Technology (KIHBT), Nairobi Institute of Technology (NIT) and many others.
Maestro Architects is a member of the Board of Registration of Architects and Quantity Surveyors (BORAQS) and the Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK) and by extension APSEA and other affiliate bodies.
As a firm of young, enthusiastic and energized professionals, Maestro Architects’ speciality is in creating unique residential houses, apartments, hotels, schools, offices, industrial and institutional buildings where proportion, function, form, environment, culture and technology merge together. They are currently providing architectural design services to major corporate bodies and public agencies and individual clients spread all over Kenya.
The firm offers a wide range of design and project support services including:
– Architectural and interior design
– Project planning –
– Project management
– Master planning
– Urban renewal,
– Financial advisory services
– Feasibility studies
– Historical research
– Rehabilitation of classical and iconic monuments.
Maestro’s main specialization is institutional buildings, residential projects and commercial offices. Some of the selected projects they have been involved in include:
i) Tuition block and offices for Meru University of Science and Technology (MUST), Meru.
ii) Food and Science complex for Meru University of Science and Technology (MUST), Meru.
iii) Tuition block, Offices and Auditorium for Kenya Highlands Evangelical University (KHEU), Kericho.
iv) Rusinga School new sixth form campus college, Lavington, Nairobi.
v) Educational Resource Centre for Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), formerly Kenya Institute of Education (KIE) Parklands, Nairobi.
vi) Industrial Incubation Park Centre for Kenya Industrial Estates Ltd (KIE), Industrial Area, Nairobi.
vii) Master planning and new offices and headquarters building for Kenya Coconut Development Authority (KCDA), Mtwapa, Kilifi.
viii) Master Planning and offices and retail commercial development at Kisumu Upper Estate for Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC), Kisumu.
ix) Master planning and design of five model schools for the Kisumu Urban Projects (KUP) Secretariat, under AFD/GoK, City Of Kisumu.
x) 84no Highend Serenita Apartments for Africa Bel air on Ngong Road, Nairobi.
xi) 2000 capacity St. Veronicah Catholic Church, Syokimau, for CMI, Machakos Diocese, Machakos County.
xii) 2000 capacity Liberty Christian Centre Sanctuary, South B, – Nairobi, for Redeemed Gospel Church.
xiii) 48no Apartments for Kenyatta National Hospital Staff Superannuation Scheme (KNHSSS), Westlands, Nairobi.
xiv) Burundi Insurance Corporation (BICOR) office plaza in Bujumbura, Burundi (won architectural design competition).
xv) Maua Methodist Hospital Sacco office building, Maua.
xvi) Nyambene Arimi Sacco office building, Maua.
xvii) Villa Vista commercial mixed – urban development building in Meru town.
xviii) Bahari Beach Hotel Conference, Spa, gym and underground discotheque for Kangocho Ltd, Mombasa.
xix) 12no Northwood Villas in Karen for Northwood Development Company Ltd/ Housing Finance.
xx) 8no Zingira Villas development in Lavington for Zingira Ltd.
xxi) Several residential developments in Nairobi and its environs.
All the projects have their own uniqueness due to their location and context, but the more outstanding would be the St. Veronicah Catholic Church in Syokimau (currently under construction), the tuition block and science complex for Meru University of Science and Technology, the Education Resource Centre for KICD, The offices and headquarters building for KCDA and the Industrial Incubation Park for Kenya Industrial Estates as well as Serenita Apartments and Villa Vista commercial development in Meru. In all these projects, extensive research was undertaken and a critical review of site parameters considered as well as the clients brief on uniqueness of design and environmental considerations.
The St. Veronicah Catholic Church, in Syokimau, for example, is a modern reinterpretation of worship spaces with strong emphasis on light, space and imagery whilst the Rusinga Sixth form college is as a result of strict budget and restricted space! The feedback from the students and pupils was very positive and the simple forms interlinked by wide arched horizontal passages with double circular columns gave the buildings a distinctive character and image.
Over the years, Maestro Architects have been engaged in projects mainly within the Republic of Kenya with some presence in Burundi in association with CORE engineers, led by engineer Ayub Salum. With the advancement in technology and integration of the East African countries into a single market, the firm intends to create liaisons with specific firms in Dar Es Salaam and Kampala. Equipped with cutting edge design skills, the firm will be able to provide services in the new frontier markets with the aim of eventually covering the whole of sub-Saharan Africa and setting up satellite offices in Botswana and Ethiopia – emerging regions with a dynamic construction industry.
According to Maestro Architects, the building industry in Kenya is undergoing a rebirth – unprecedented development being witnessed in almost all the 47 counties. “The realization that real estate development is amongst the most lucrative forms of wealth creation has driven the ever growing middle class to jump into the bandwagon with excitement and a lot of optimism”, they say. “The government has also gone full scale in creating agencies that now ensure strict legislation of contractors and professionals. The formation of the National Construction Authority (NCA), shall in the long run bring back sanity to the industry – whose reputation was fast going south!”
“Further, involvement of the AAK appointees in some of the government decision making organs shall ensure all procurement and tendering procedures are leveled for all qualified professionals.”
The firm notes that AAK has also been in the forefront of weeding out non-registered persons (or quacks) through liaisons with clients, government agencies and the City County of Nairobi.
“The new mode of submission of architectural and structural drawings using the internet and only accessed by registered persons, is in our opinion, the greatest achievement so far and a great boost to ensuring safe and well designed buildings in Nairobi. This should be adapted by all the other counties especially Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret and Nakuru.”
They also observe that the quality of training of architectural professionals has over the years marginally improved due to the integration of Computer Aided Design (CAD) in the curriculum and extensive attachment programmes initiated by several Universities as a live link to the industry. “With a vibrant environment as currently being experienced, remuneration is market driven dependent on one’s skills in design, presentation and general experience. The government is currently the biggest employer, due to the demand created by the new counties, but the private sector is also playing its part equally well, and the exodus experienced in the mid nineties to other emerging African countries has gradually tapered off. In general, Kenya is a good stage to practice architecture and reap from the huge volumes of construction activities being experienced.”