project name

LOCATION: Uhuru Highway, Nairobi, Kenya

TYPE: Mixed-use retail, office & leisure

CONTEXT: Uhuru Highway, Nairobi centre

CLIENT: Kiloran

SIZE: 28,500m²

YEAR: 2018

COMPLETION: Due spring 2020


aLL Design have won planning permission for a new retail concept in Nairobi, Kenya.

The centre will be aLL Design's first project in Kenya and the late Professor Alsop's only project in Africa.

Nairobi shopping centre and Grade A office project, 'The Beacon', is to be developed by Kiloran.

The new open-air mall features 24,300m² of retail, food and beverage along with a 4,200 m², seven-storey office tower overlooking the mall's roof garden and bar.

The contents of the mall will be characterised by a 'sweet factory' theme with many details commissioned by local craftspeople and artisans as well as those using the latest manufactured materials and technology. The Beacon is intended to bring delight to locals and tourists; the vivid colours and striking patterns of the façade will hint at the amusements and leisure facilities inside. A light monorail with 'jellybean' style carriages is planned; a helter-skelter, piano staircase and merry-go-round will enliven the space and encourage community interaction and shared experience. Playful twists on form and function will fulfil Alsop's desire that architecture should always be fun. 

The main façade to Uhuru Highway is clad in monochromatic porcelain panels broken by a bright red leisure box. Internally, mallscape walkways are sheltered from seasonal rain and sun by colourful solar fabric canopies. A thatched rooftop restaurant and solid surface clad bar sit atop a biodiverse brown roof.

It is intended that the mall will become a destination in its own right and will sit well on its prime retail pitch immediately between major employment zones; the Central Business District, the Industrial Area and Upper Hill financial district, broadening the localised leisure offer to provide facilities that encourage longer dwell time onsite by visiting families with children; teenagers and young people.

It is a shared commitment to 'create places people like' and a common approach to promote shopping experience that brought Kiloran and Will Alsop, with his team at aLL Design, together on this flagship development for East Africa.

Marcos Rosello, co-founder of aLL Design said, "We were intrigued by Kiloran's ideas for this mall in Nairobi and were pleased to be able create an open-air mall with a focus on sustainability, fun and family which we believe to be key drivers on future international mall design."

'The Beacon' is the first project in Africa for the late Will Alsop and aLL Design and is the second shopping centre-led development for Kiloran LLP, who have offices in both London and Nairobi.

The challenge to deliver an Alsop /aLL Design concept in East Africa has been addressed by Kiloran through direct engagement with first class specialist engineers, fabricators, suppliers and subcontractors.

Kiloran is focused on value-driven sustainability at conceptual level and through the encouragement of local fabrication and procurement. The concepts of both fun and sustainability are not applied merely as devices; rather they are designed into the grain of development.

The completion and grand opening of 'The Beacon' is planned for the spring of 2020 and the building will be an architectural legacy for Nairobi that will serve to promote tourism.