On Thursday, October 13, 2022, President William Ruto issued an Executive Order that revealed how his newly constituted administration would be structured including the allocation of offices to senior government officials.
Prime Cabinet secretary nominee Musalia Mudavadi was allocated an office at the Kenya Railways Headquarters in Nairobi, off Haile Sellasie Avenue, opposite the Kenya Railways Bus Station.
Established in 1924 the architectural design was attributed to one Sir Herbert Baker, a British architect, born on June 9, 1862. Baker was invited to Kenya by Sir Edward Grigg, who served as the country’s governor from 1925 until 1931. Among his first structures include The Nairobi European School (now Nairobi Primary School).
Environmental design considerations
The building’s rear faces to the West, and its front side faces East. This helps protect the front side, the primary front of the building from the intense afternoon sun on the western side.
The building also has thick walls that range in thickness from 300 to 600 mm, which guarantees cool temperatures inside the structure regardless of the weather. The building also has fountains and lakes in the headquarters courtyard that serve as heat sinks, radiatively cooling the mass of the building.
It has a reflective exterior finish that aids in reflecting much of the sun’s rays and preventing heat buildup by minimizing the building’s solar radiation. The Kenya Railways’ headquarters exhibits a relatively small window area compared to the wall surface. This reduces the amount of heat build-up due to direct solar radiation. The walls surrounding the courtyards are painted white increasing the reflection of light from the building.
Baker created planters in the courtyard, providing a cool environment due to a combination of evapotranspiration, reflection, shading and storage of cold. The building interiors are painted white which allows for the propagation of natural light for better distribution.
Other notable structures in Nairobi created by Baker and completed by his assistant Jan Hoogterp include the Government House, (now State House), the Law Courts and the Kenya Railways Headquarters building.
Notably, the structure was damaged by the bombing of the American Embassy in Nairobi in 1989, which destroyed one of its wings. However, the building has undergone a number of modifications to meet the requirements for modern executive office suits.
Mudavadi noted that he loves his new office despite comments from critics.
“I’m happy with Kenya Railways as an office. Kenyans who voted for us are there every morning and evening and it is a constant reminder to me that we should not let them down but work hard on their behalf,” Mudavadi said.
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