Taking a high-rise structure from concept to completion is no easy task — structural and geotechnical engineers usually face an array of design-related challenges. From vulnerability, to seismic activity, to understanding the risks of underlying soils, designing a tall building is a feat within itself.

However, engineers in Kenya can rejoice as The Britam Tower in Nairobi has been named as having the best in mechanical and electrical engineering by The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH).

The CTBUH recently announced their winners of the Best Tall Building Worldwide and Category Winners at the 16th Annual CTBUH Awards Program, which recognizes projects and individuals that have made significant contributions to the advancement of tall buildings that also achieve sustainability at the highest level.

Source: Gapp Architects

The Britam Tower, which is the tallest building in Kenya, beat four other projects to the prize, including the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco who won the overall category prize.

Judges were impressed by the buildings rainwater harvesting, ventilation strategies and heat mitigation strategies that save 39 percent on energy bills and 50 percent on water use when compared to the typical high rise building.

“The veil facade solution, consisting of 50 million square ceramic rods in front of a full-height glass curtain wall with selective glass, lets in significantly more light than heat”.

The brains behind the sustainable solutions were chapmanbdsp, an independent design and engineering consultancy based in London. Ian Duncombe, Board Director at chapmanbdsp, accepted the award and said:

“We were up against some really stiff competition...this is a fantastic achievement for the project and for chapmanbdsp in front of our peers on a global stage”.

It’s not the first achievement this Kenyan tower has achieved; it was also the first building in Kenya to receive EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies) certification, a recognition awarded to building owners who demonstrate a high level of resource efficiency in their buildings.

Working with Gapp Architects, chapmanbdsp engineered a wide variety of solutions within the tower, from powerful solar control to natural ventilation for the office floors. A spokesman for Britam said:

“We are so proud to see our vision realised by the whole team. The work chapmanbdsp did on environmental solutions answered the brief and fully transformed the project”.

“We have been given a legacy we can all be proud of”.

The Engineering Institute of Technology (EIT) is dedicated to ensuring our students receive a world-class education and gain skills they can immediately implement in the workplace upon graduation. Our staff members uphold our ethos of honesty and integrity, and we stand by our word because it is our bond. Our students are also expected to carry this attitude throughout their time at our institute, and into their careers.