East Africa Property Holdings (U) Ltd

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east-africa-property-holdings-u-ltdOffice block for East Africa Property Holdings (U) Ltd

Dimensions architects & Interior designers (U) Ltd has extensive experience in design of office buildings in Uganda.

It is on this background that Ms PKF through its sister company East Africa Holdings (U) LTD commissioned Dimensions to provide architectural services for the construction of the PKF corporate headquarters building for their operations in Uganda.

Dimension architects were duly appointed as project lead consultants and successfully designed and supervised the project to completion.

The state-of-the-art structure is on Plot 1B Kira Road in Mulago, a Kampala suburb; about 10 minutes drive from the City centre. The neighborhood has a variety of amenities and fully developed infrastructure.

The site is easily accessible by several major routes including Kira road and Yusuf Lule Road. This unique placement away from the main Central Business District (CBD) provides convenient access as the area experiences less traffic congestion than the rest of the city.

The site terrain has a considerable slope which has been exploited in the site planning to create surface parking by lifting the building on stilts.

Project Design and Scope
The site is trapezoidal in shape measuring approximately 56 x 62 meters and has a semi basement parking. It is served by a dedicated access road off Kira road.

The building is a reinforced concrete framed structure based on a structural grid of 5.5 meters in one direction and 5m and 7 meters in the other direction.

It is divided in two wings with ground level parking for 95 cars. The office block is 7 storied and in conformity to the Local authority recommended skyline in the area. The new executive complex offers 6 floors of office space, a pristine restaurant facility on the 7th floor plus a roof top terrace with breathtaking views of the surrounding.

Building structure and articulation
An inverted L-shaped layout was used to create a symmetrical building form, with a cylindrical core linking the 2 wings.

The core houses a central common staircase, lift, lift lobbies and restrooms. The building symmetry pronounces the main entrance and orients the building towards the vistas in the neighborhood.

In line with the creation of a corporate identity and developing standards for an internal office working environment for PKF, partitioning and office fit out has been designed to meet the specific needs of the client who is occupying a significant section of the building.

The building has its external envelope in a blend of composite aluminium panels in earthy tones and structural solar glazing. A combination of rendered surfaces and regularly sized window openings and structural glazing help to create a well balanced and modern building.

The Strategic location and the well articulated building design give this building a unique corporate identity.

The offices have high quality finishes and fittings.The Exterior of the building is textured plaster and paint, Composite aluminium panels and Aluminium structural glazing.

Granite tiles can be seen at the entrance area, the main staircase and lobbies. Concrete Paving blocks are seen on the driveway and parking whereas the roof has external quality granito tiles on waterproofing membrane.

The interior has Glazed timber doors to the office units. Open plan offices as well as the restaurant have good quality porcelain tile floor finishes. 600 x  600 suspended ceilings in aluminium T-grid have been used to allow flexibility of services within the ceiling voids. The lift lobbies have decorative gypsum board ceilings.

Services and facilities
The building has been designed to conform to international fire safety and occupational health requirements.

Fire escape staircases have been provided, 2 central lifts for vertical circulation have been offered, and adequate provision has been made for firefighting equipments on all floors. ICT (voice data) has been provided through vertical ducts to make the building internet ready.

Provision for Air conditioning has been made on all floors for tenants who may require it. It’s notable that the building fenestration design as well as the central core design has been done in a definite way to create adequate natural “cross-ventilation” by creating a stack effect through the central core.
Project implementation

According to Architect Stephen J.W Inyangala, the Director of Dimensions architects & Interior designers (U) Ltd, the final building product has come out as a result of combined efforts of the client, consultants and contractors.

Arch Stephen who was also the project team leader further notes that periodic supervision has been done by the consultants to ensure that the construction has been carried out in accordance with the design specifications “Its notable that the client team (PKF) has played a very active role even during the implementation stage and this helped in expediting decision making and approvals.” he added.

Challenges and Interventions
One of the challenges faced was that the plot had no direct road frontage. This meant that services for example access road, sewer and storm water drainage involved negotiations with neighbors which by its nature has potential to create delays.

It is noteworthy that the location of the site is in an emerging commercial area, which is still a largely residential neighborhood, Construction work taking place in such a mixed neighborhood posed certain challenges. However according to Arch Stephen, the team established good rapport with the neighbors and reduced on the potential areas of conflict.

Despite the fact that there was a 2 months delay due to the above challenges, the project has been completed within the original budget

Project team
East Africa Property Holdings Ltd (sister company to PKF)
Dimensions Architects & Interior Designers (U) Ltd
Structural Engineer
Proman Consult Ltd
Quantity Surveyor
Orion Associates
Mechanical & Electrical engineer
M&E Associates Ltd
Main Contractor
Seyani Brothers & Co. Ltd
Electrical Subcontractor
Master Power Systems Ltd
Mechanical Subcontractor
Central Plumbing
Air-conditioning Subcontractor
Voice & Data subcontractor
Copy Cat Ltd
Security subcontractor
Securex Ltd

Brief on Dimensions architects & Interior designs ltd

Dimensions architects & Interior designs ltd was founded in 1994. It’s one of the leading groups of architects with a regional presence and established offices in Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda. With four directors in Nairobi and one in Uganda, Dimensions Architects and Interior Designers (U) Ltd have a support staff of registered architects and technical staff in all their offices.

Their Ugandan firm (Dimensions architects & Interior designs (U) ltd) has been practicing since 2001 within which time they have produced some building landmarks contributing to the Kampala city landscape. The compelling force behind their design is innovation, creativity and style.
“Architecture must evoke emotion” says Arch Stephen, the Director of the Ugandan Firm.” I believe in emotive architecture. An architectural piece of work must elicit emotion whether positive or negative.” he affirms.
Some of the projects they have undertaken include the Headquarters for World Food Program, Barclays bank and the royal palms housing estate at Butabika, a project that is ongoing.