Architect Nadi Hashim Omar
The Department of Architecture was established in the year 1990, initially in a staff house then moved to the Common Lecture Block (CLB), into the Engineering Laboratory Block (ELB) and finally to its current home in the Technology House. It occupies the entire first floor and parts of second and third floors. The Department continued to grow and eventually gave rise to two new Departments namely Landscape Architecture and Construction Management. These formed the School of Architecture and Building Sciences (SABS) that was established in the year 2001.
The philosophy of the department is, Integrated approach to design based on Technology and social cultural factors. The undergraduate and post graduate courses train and mentor students with a bias for scientific knowledge for advancement of technology, which is particularly useful in designing the built environment. Students are sensitized on buildable and sustainable designs using relevant technology as a design determinant. Strong emphasis is placed on local technology, environment, economy and socio-cultural conditions. Indeed the Bachelor of Architectural Studies curriculum includes 50% practical based teaching in studios, workshops, laboratories and lecture rooms. In addition students acquire practical skills in architectural firms and building construction sites by getting at least 24 weeks of practical attachment distributed throughout the first 4 years of study.
The curriculum has regularly been reviewed every 6 years upon completion of a full cycle to remain competitive and internationally relevant. It is not only accredited by the Commission for University Education, Board of Registration of Architects and Quantity Surveyors of Kenya but also by the Commonwealth Association of Architects (CAA). During the last review 3 years ago, a two-tier approach was approved. It takes 4 years to graduate with a Bachelor of Architectural Studies degree and a further 2 years leading to the Bachelor of Architecture.
In the last 20 years the Department has graduated over 600 students in the former 6-year Bachelor of Architecture degree programme. They have continued to excel in various sectors of the economy in Kenya, regionally and internationally. They shine in the creative, scientific and technological areas of architecture in government, corporate world and in individual business as architects, project managers, developers, administrators etc. Positive feedback has been received from key stakeholders from the industry. Indeed twice our graduates have won the East African Institute of Architects (EAIA) Presidents award for best student of Architecture in East Africa.
Facilities and resources in the Department include departmental staff offices, lecture rooms, modern ICT laboratory, architectural science laboratory, design studios, modeling studio, photography studio and workshops. The staff are very qualified with advanced degrees at Masters and PhD levels.
Future plans for the Department envision modernizing the teaching space and facilities to maximize the use of new technology. There shall be increased collaboration with industry, other universities and research institutions to network to widen the reach and exposure through exchange programs, joint studios and research projects. The department will also create outreach programmes through short courses to train players in the building industry. Research and innovation will be strengthened through available funding opportunities and new avenues. The Department has embarked on an expansion programme to develop new programmes. It will soon transform into a new school in the proposed College of Architecture Design and Development.
The growth continues!