PROJECT: International School of Kenya, Commons, Library & Admin. Building
LOCATION: Nairobi, Kenya
FIRM: H2L2 Architects & Planners.
PIC: Doug Steele, AIA, LEED AP
PM: Bruce Chamberlain, AIA
PA: James Templeton, AIA
PD: John Michael Sakoian, Jr., AIA, LEED AP BD+C
DESCRIPTION: The Commons building was designed as the central hub of the ISK campus, drawing students from the Elementary, Middle and High School. The Commons is intended to be the dining, social gathering, and technology-driven heart of the ISK campus. Attached to the Commons is a new multi-purpose building. It has been strategically placed between the Commons and the campus entry/main parking area and serves as the administration building and parent welcome center. This building serves as the “face” of the Commons and provides a secure gateway to both the facility and the campus beyond.
The building feature’s K-12 dining pavilions, a cafe, study lounges, collaborative spaces, multi-media center and kiosks. It will directly connect the Elementary, Middle and High School libraries serving as a media-rich technology center. Students come to the Commons to develop advanced computer skills and implement them in a combination of group and independent study environments. The building’s radial plan with centrally located circulation desk, allows for improved visibility and security for the librarian and staff. Directly above the central core is a large glass dome providing a visual connection between the library and the dining area above.
Stark contrasts exist between the building’s heavy structural forms and the glazing; which has been strategically placed for controlled passive day lighting and shade. The exterior walls have operable fenestration for passive climate control and terrace doors, at grade, to encourage use of the many covered terraces around the building’s perimeter. Utilizing the common local building methods of cast-in-place concrete construction, the design of the Commons is a refined application of durable materials which is also representative of the institution which it serves.