Using our Expertise to Enrich Communities Around the Globe
I am proud to work for a firm that believes we can elevate the human experience through design. This belief is what feeds my desire to work on projects that have societal impact and that ultimately enrich whole communities.
I have been fortunate to play a key role in expanding our higher education planning and design practice internationally. In every effort, we follow the same premise to enhance communities and improve opportunities for those who live, work and play in local neighborhoods.
International projects create unlimited potential for our experts to evoke change, especially in the higher education realm. We can help spur an educational revival. We understand an adequately trained labor force is a key hallmark for a thriving community. Our team can offer a flexible plan to prepare higher education institutions the opportunity to react to the ever changing landscape of a fast paced global economy.
During a recent trip to Kenya to meet with officials at Kenyatta University, I quickly realized how very little I know about Kenya and Nairobi in general, despite the fact my parents are originally from Kenya. I lacked a clear understanding of the subtle cultural queues and nuanced references that made the people who they were. Nairobi, a modern metropolis, features both amenities and vices that you would find in any major city like New York, London or Mexico City. The urban fabric, though informal and riddled with vernacular inferences, presents a wonderful backdrop for our campus planning expertise. Education is important to maintaining the livelihood of this community, but many of the same higher education challenges exist in Nairobi as in many cities in the United States: fluctuating student enrollments, inadequate facilities and an uncertain plan for the future.
To solve some of these challenges, DLR Group was hired by Kenyatta University to complete a campus-wide master plan. What stands out most in my mind from our experience is our client’s eagerness and appetite for planning. Officials at Kenyatta University exhibited an amazing interest and curiosity toward westernized planning concepts and design pedagogy. Our charge was to carefully balance the infusion modern campus planning concepts, while still respecting the local context. During one our team’s extensive campus walking tours we coined the phrase “for its place and for its time”.
As we have continued to work with our client, and familiarize ourselves with the context of Higher Education in Kenya, we realized that Kenyatta University is the first University in the country to conduct this type of extensive master plan. As a result, DLR Group was requested to present our process and findings to the President of Kenya in July 2014. Today, design is underway on two campuses. On the Ruiri Campus, we are designing a School of Architecture Building that will house new academic programs. On the main Kenyatta Campus in Nairobi we are in design of a new sports complex.
I am confident our efforts will have a significant impact on the planning and implementation of higher education facilities in Kenya moving forward. Elevating the human experience through design rings true.