By Dr. Arch. Noel Okello.
The inaugural Chairman’s Awards of Excellence was held at Technology House at JKUAT main Campus, JUJA. It is a premier annual event organized by the Department of Architecture at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in collaboration with the Architectural Student’s Association at JKUAT. It celebrates the achievements of student and staff in the Architectural Design Portfolio which forms the core of training at the Department of Architecture. It particularly champions creativity, productivity, highest quality and design initiative among students of architecture. It also showcases standards which students in the faculty should meet in order to excel in architectural design across different levels of training.
The 2021 event featured an exhibition of outstanding student works across all academic years as well as creative works undertaken by students of architecture beyond the requirements of their curriculum. The awards ceremony was graced by the presence of the Principal of the College of Engineering and Technology (COETEC), JKUAT, Dr. (Eng) Hiram M. Ndiritu. He lauded the high quality, innovativeness and creative spirit of exhibited student works. He acknowledged the Department of Architecture’s recognition of students’ effort in academic pursuits and its invaluable role in setting exceptional training and operational standards for the university. Also in attendance at the event were faculty from the School of Architecture and Building Sciences including, the Dean of School, the Chairman; Department of Construction Management, and academic staff. Student representatives from the Architectural Students’ Association at Kenyatta University also attended the event at the magnanimous invitation of their counterparts at JKUAT’s Architectural Students’ Association.
The Best Student in Architectural Design Portfolio Award in the year 2020 went to Kelvin Kithome of BAS Year 3, who won a plaque, a certificate and a cash prize of Ksh 20,000. The second best student was Edmund Kipng’etich of BAS Year 3, who won a certificate and a cash prize of Ksh 12,000. The third best student was Ian Mahinda of B.Arch Year 5, who won a certificate and a cash prize of Ksh 8,000. The best female students were also recognized and awarded prizes: the Best Female Student in Architectural Design Portfolio went to Salma Bajaber of B.Arch Year 5. She won a shield, a certificate, and a cash prize of Ksh. 10,000. The second best female student was Faith Kitur of B.Arch Year 6, who won a certificate and a cash prize of Ksh. 7,000, and the third best female student was Stephanie Ruto of BAS Year 1, who won a certificate and a cash prize of Ksh. 5,000.
The Dean of the School of Architecture and Building Sciences, Professor Gerryshom Munala, who was represented at the awards by the Chairman of the Department of Construction Management, Mr. Marcan Masudi, acclaimed the Department of Architecture for consistently trailblazing and congratulated the students for setting standards in the faculty and beyond. In his own capacity, Mr. Marcan Masudi admitted being impressed by the event organization, the exhibition of student works and the involvement of students in projects beyond their academic engagements. He was thankful for being invited to the awards and endeavored to instill the same constructive and celebratory spirit that he had witnessed in the Department of Construction Management.
The Chairman of the Department of Architecture thanked members and staff and students for making the event possible by dint of their hard work, prerogative and resilience in spite of myriad challenges facing the department such as the less hands-on learning environments posed by the emergent Covid-19 pandemic. He said that he was simultaneously proud and grateful of the teamwork and support of his staff and pledged to actively appeal to practitioners, alumni, materials manufacturers and suppliers and other built environment industry players to contribute towards making future events bigger and more auspicious in the coming years.