- First of all congratulations as you celebrate the 24th anniversary, it has been a breath taking journey anchored on timeless delivery of innovative, creative and aesthetically appealing projects. What has your experience been like?
- Tell me about your journey, when did you start and how were your early years in the practice? What services do you offer?
Since we started in 1992, we have always had good projects. We started our practice with the Mayfair Hotel in Westlands and Hemingways in Watamu. Since then we have been fortunate to have opened files on over 500 projects, almost a third of which have been realised. This is a very high average and has exposed us to almost all types of work small and large scale.
When we started by offering Architectural and Interior Design Services and have remained the same since then. Projects nowadays are much bigger due to the expansion of cities all over Kenya. We still do relatively small projects such as private houses and office interiors.
- 24 years in the industry with a sparkling reputation on your name what has kept you going all this time?
We enjoy the work. Good projects and good Clients are very easy to work with and there is no problem in keeping the momentum. We are assisted by very capable staff and consultants who have grown with us.
- What are some of the projects you have undertaken?
We have done 7 new buildings for USIU, several hotels and lodges, including Sankara and Naivasha Simba; several offices including Eaton Square and the Watermark Karen. Our housing projects including Nova Apartments and many others similar apartment complexes.
- What project was appealing to both yourself and your clients?
Both partners have their own favourites. We greatly enjoyed African Wildlife Foundation Headquarters (AWF – HQ) in Karen, United Nations of Nairobi (UNON) Offices in Gigiri and the Watermark in Karen.
- What are the ongoing projects and what of those on the pipeline?
Most of the projects in the pipeline are still confidential. Nova Apartments, Premier Academy and Capital M Apartments are on-going as well as many luxury villas.
- What challenges have you encountered as an experience architect? Because some architectural projects come with their hare of frustrations. How do you overcome such challenges and how do you approach your projects to ensure clients get optimum value for their money?
We try to produce as much as information as the job demands and we exercise careful project management. This combination keeps projects relatively straight forward. We make sure the jobs are built well, on time and with budget.
- How do you cope with such challenges?
After a long time in practice, we have learned to avoid the areas that cause problems. These are mostly due to unenlightened attempts to cut costs. We accept that all building are expensive and deserve very careful attention at all stages.
- In the advent of precision, collapsing of buildings is still a major threat that puts architectural integrity to test. What should be done to curb such incidences?
This is essentially due to the building not being designed and supervised by Structural Engineers.
- Architecture has a big impact on how we live both as individuals and as a community. How can architecture be used to make life better?
Architecture is a service business. A good architect will understand the requirements of domestic social and business life and will work towards creating comfortable economic spaces in which these can be happily pursued.
- Leveraging on technology, what are your views on the infusion of green technology practices in architecture?
We think society has drifted dangerously from the self-sufficient work of the last century. The laws needs to be changed so that all building cannot be built and occupied unless they are custom to strict environment standards and energy consumption.
- How do you unwind, what consumes your free time?
Family, friends, music, exercise and social work.
10. Most definitely a queue of young guys would feel the attraction to pursue architecture, what advice would you give them?
Learn to ask only one question: ‘Why does a Client want a building?’ Then focus on the Client who wants a building, that will save a lot of time doing speculative work; lean construction on site as part of training; learn the cost and of everything and ask for help when you don’t have all the answers.
11.Beglin Woods Architects designs are unique and outstanding in that they rise above normal and predictable architecture. What inspires your designs and how do you keep them fresh and striking?
The internet now allows us to see every building in the world. This was the unthinkable 10 years ago. We spend a lot of time looking at the buildings that are being celebrated and the process that create them.
12.How big is your architectural footprint in the counties? What building and construction opportunities do the new county governments present as they roll out their development agenda?
So far we have not had the fortunate to be invited by the countries to work at that level. We see huge growth in areas outside Nairobi as villages grow into towns and towns become cities. Everything being done in Nairobi will soon be done in 6 – 8 major towns around Kenya and elsewhere in Africa.
13. What are your views of the architectural profession in Kenya today? What milestones have the profession achieved and what more could be done to make the architectural practice in Kenya even better?
It is improving daily and very high standards are being reached. The high cost of land demands great efficiency in planning and in project management. The practice could be made better by a better relation between practices, the institute and the public.
14. How does BWA ensure safety in its projects for both workers and end users?
There are well published health and safety laws which we follow to the letter on all projects.
15. To achieve growth and success a company needs a great team. BWA has a superb team. Could you briefly talk about your team and its achievements?
The team has been with us for a long time. We rarely single out individuals. Everybody in the offices shows great passion and loyalty and will work timelessly for the good of the practice. The office staff learn new methods every day and we now know much more than we did when we started.
16. Your favourite book or quote?
“Find a job that you love and you will never have to work.” Anonymous
“All you need is love” John Lennon
“Love thy neighbour as thyself.” Matthew 22:39
17. What would you like to be remembered for as an architect?
We would like to be remembered for the enjoyment that our work has brought to our Clients.