Access to basic amenities remains a luxury to many people especially the underprivileged in urban centres in the world. It is in this comprehension that a community centre was developed by Church Army Africa to provide a beacon of hope in Kibera, Nairobi. This innovative establishment was designed and supervised as a donation by Triad Architects through Triad Foundation Trust and is set to transform the lives of the people in this locality. With a focus on community service, Tafakari Community Centre is an example of how architecture can make a positive impact on society.
The primary objective of Tafakari Community Centre is to act as a health, educational, and empowerment hub in Gatwekera, Kibera. The centre has programs and facilities that are geared towards the alleviation of poverty in the community. All these are provided in a three-story building with a total of 440 square meters.
The health core of this facility hosts a clinic on the ground floor with an area of 50 sqm. The Tafakari Community Clinic will provide basic medical services and medication. It consists of a pharmacy, a procedure room, consultation rooms, and a waiting area. This crucial service in a community where access to healthcare is limited will encourage a healthy living by reducing the distance locals have to travel to seek healthcare.
Figure 1: View from the Road
Figure 2: Gate view
Tafakari Community Centre is designed to provide educational facilities and has a library, women empowerment, and pastors training centre. Since the facility is sponsored by an evangelical missionary arm of the Anglican Church, it is strategically positioned to be a lamp on top of a hill. The centre provides a space for local pastors to learn, collaborate, and grow together in spreading the good news and empowering locals to create a positive community with respect to a superior being. The training and empowerment spaces provide educational programs for vocational trainings aimed at women and youth for the betterment of their livelihoods.
Triad Architects designed additional spaces that further offer empowerment and wellbeing of the society. The centre has a gym, a music studio, a staff meeting room and a studio apartment which acts as a guest house or a caretaker’s room. These facilities offer the locals and visitors opportunities to learn new skills, nurture and develop themselves, exercise, and engage in productive activities. By providing such services, Tafakari Community Centre is creating a conducive environment for personal growth and community development.
On the roof top of this 3-storeyed building, the architects provided a roof terrace with additional washrooms and spaces for social gathering such as meetings and parties. This space is available to the community and offers a place where locals can gather for social events and meetings with picturesque views of the neighbourhood and the city’s skyline.
Figure 3: View of the front facade
Figure 4: Views from the rooftop
The community centre is designed in a North-South orientation to reduce on solar heat gains and eliminate the need for solar shading. All spaces in the building enjoy daylight and natural ventilation from large operable windows that beautifully serve the building. It is softly painted in beige and a shade of orange which subtly makes it blend in its environment but still stand as a landmark. It is wholly constructed in masonry and concrete while adopting steel doors and windows thus keeping the construction costs low.
The amenities are backed up by clean, elaborate washrooms and bathrooms that promote good hygiene in the context of a slum setup. The facility has a boundary wall and a sliding gate which brings a sense of safety and security. Water storage tanks will provide support to its water-intensive activities.
The building’s design is a testament to Triad Architects creativity and attention to detail. With technical assistance from Triad Foundation Trust, Church Army Africa has created a hub that directly respond to the needs of the community in the surrounding area. By providing essential services to the community, Tafakari Community Centre is empowering the locals to take charge of their lives and create positive change within their communities. This is a collective donation by all involved that will have a lasting impact on the people of Kibera, Nairobi, and the surrounding areas.
The project was actualized by a pool of consultants all offering their services as a donation with Triad Architects as the lead. The structural and civil design was done by Sensei Capital Limited while plumbing and electrical designs were done by Norkun Intakes Ltd. The project costing was done and evaluated by Aegis Development Solutions Ltd. The actual construction was done by Valmiki Builders Limited. The building is scheduled to be dedicated and officially opened by the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya Rev. Dr. Jackson Ole Sapit on Thursday, 4th May 2023.