It is a known fact that if you were a riotous person staying late at night in bars in Nairobi and its environs in the late 60’s, you would definitely somehow got into the wrong side of the law, and would eventually be booked for a night in a filthy cell, that costed more than sleeping in a five star hotel.
The police action those years were intensified on purpose and it is believed that the proceeds of all the subsequent court fines received, helped to construct the 28 floors masterpiece tower many say the Architect got its theme and inspiration from a donkey’s penis.
That all the same may not have been the design philosophy behind it, as the soft spoken whiskey lover Norwegian Architect Karl Henrik Nøstvik, had one day while drinking at the revolving tower of his creation, told this writer that he simply got the concept from a maize cob.
Karl at one time accepted the fact that he had presented the design to the then Chief Architect, Mr. Mutiso, who may have looked at the design and naughtily imagined the way he later put it, or in a way, not appreciating at all, for that was not his design concept.
It was Karl’s concept and he was not assisted by anyone to come up with the iconic building that stands majestically not ashamed of many other buildings that later came up. It still up to this day challenges many both in aesthetic and functionality of spaces and it will continue doing so, for many years to come.
It was initially believed to have been the property of the ruling party KANU. and the same cost the Government more that SHS 80 million. The construction was done in three phases starting with the podium, followed by the main tower and finally the magnificent plenary halls went up in the final phases.
KICC has a unique revolving entire floor being the 28th floor, and as one enjoyed a drink when the restaurant was in operation, the unique Townscape ugly views and beautiful ones, would slowly be revealed and all gave one a feeling of getting high and eventually floating into space. It was a restaurant you could drink less and feel dizzy at the same time just in case you fear heights.
The construction was completed in 1973, and the building opened to the public in a ceremony presided over by the late President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta in September of the same year. Mzee had also unveiled his unique statue in the Presence of his arch rival the late Jaramogi Odinga.
Jaramogi may have been excited at the invitation and great achievement of KANU and wanted to be part of the success when he went further during the unveiling of the statue, expressed his personal satisfaction and gratification making many to admire him even further when he had gone on to describe Mzee Jomo Kenyatta as “Gods Masterpiece”
It was in the same year when the global meeting of the World Bank and IMF held it’s historic meeting in September 1973.
For now close to 47 years KICC is still one of Kenya’s few landmarks where many have taken lifetime pictures at the Statue overlooking the towering concrete structure that never ages.
It will continue to be one of Kenya’s unforgettable landmark and no matter how many structures continue to challenge this majestic iconic building, they will all fail for it has memories that cannot easily be erased from the minds of many that have kept a photograph or two with their loved ones.
Arch. Dr. Isaac Kinungi
Diaspora National Assembly for 254