UNON New Assembly Hall Design - Finalist
The UNON (United Nations Office at Nairobi) is one of only four United Nation's regional headquarters, along with the UN assembly halls in New York, Vienna, and Geneva.
It is the African hub for international conversation and collaboration (4,000 high-level multi-lingual meetings and conferences per year, attendance numbering up to thousands per event).
The UNON also shares its 140-acre site with the world headquarters of UNEP (United Nations Environmental Program) and UN-Habitat.
The project seeks to renew the 50-year-old conferencing facilities, reimagine the city-facing side identity of the campus, and add a new assembly hall building to provide for the ever-increasing need for global collaboration. This plan aims to create a highly sustainable and universally accessible conference facility that will represent a New African Modernism, in addition to embodying the UN's values of upholding human dignity, rights, and freedom without distinctions, facilitating international cooperation, and bettering standards of life in larger freedom.
DESIGN CRITERIA: HUMAN + NATURE
The KSP-led design team was tasked to submit a concept design for the new assembly hall within a 10-day period. The team had been developing design criteria and approaches prior to this task. The team's design criteria centered around restoring the native ecology (adjacent Karura Forest together with the natural hydrology and native soil) and blending with nature. Also crucially considered was to provide meaningful varieties of inspiring places to meet and collaborate, in, out, and around the new assembly hall, emphasizing comfort, community, identity, health, and a sense of wellness. Together with the use of local materials and methods, we determined these design principles to be part of the core constituents that define New African Modernism.