Architecture Kenya


Architect David Mutiso

Kenyan architect and town planner. He was educated at the University of Sheffield's School of Architecture from 1954 to 1959. After graduation, he served apprenticeships with J. Womersley, City Architect of the Sheffield Corporation (1959-60), Professor Quaroni in Italy and Richard Hughes in Kenya (1961-2). Between 1964 and 1974 he was the Chief Architect of the Kenya Ministry of Works, and he was responsible for a number of public projects, of which the Kenyatta Conference Centre (1974) remains the major architectural landmark.

A member of the RIBA and, from 1956 to 1970, of the National Housing Corporation, Mutiso was also a founder-member of the Architectural Association of Kenya in 1967. Between 1965 and 1974 he was Chairman of the Kenya Board of Registration of Architects and Quantity Surveyors, as well as being an external examiner for the Department of Architecture at the University of Nairobi. In 1967 he was registered to practise architecture in Kenya. Mutiso opened his own practice in 1974 and created a portfolio of projects impressive for its range and diversity as well as for the exceptional quality of his buildings and the sensitivity of the siting and landscaping.

The United Nations accommodation of 1975, comprising the headquarters of the UN Centre for Human Settlements as well as the regional offices of UNESCO and UNICEF, sited on 40 ha of undulating landscape at Gigiri, is remarkable for its interplay of structure and non-structural enclosure planes. With the Kenya Technical Teachers College (1978), also in Gigiri, he achieved another level of clarity with contrasting planes of colour: vertical white walls for accent, delineating volumes, and horizontal planes of monopitch, dark red concrete roof tiles, defining various levels of spatial volumes that peak into a flat-topped pyramid over the amphitheatre. The horizontal linear shadow of the roof over the fenestration provides a subdued effect accentuated by the vertical window mullions.