Kenya: Nairobi tower inspired by Islamic design opens for business

By AT editor - 20 October 2017 at 6:36 am
Kenya: Nairobi tower inspired by Islamic design opens for business

The new FCB Mihrab building has opened in the Kenyan capital, and managers with the Mihrab Development Ltd (MDL) say the space in the majestic, USD$1.3 million tower is already 50 percent full.

The building, designed by architectural firm Morphosis, is designed to reflect Islamic values and welcome tenants who adhere to principles of Islamic finance. The 21-story tower is shaped like a mihrab, a semi-circular alcove found in mosques that indicates the direction to face when praying. The architects also created a bridge over water, spanning a moat built around the gleaming tower, as a transformative symbol of purity, serenity and sanctity when people “cross over” to enter. 

The curves of the mihrab reach to a point on the three-story roof, where mashrabiya lattice screens begin to drape gracefully across the exterior of the building. The traditional feature of Arabic architecture – commonly used in Cairo and across much of the Islamic world – helps to reduce solar heating but also was an intentional choice in keeping with the faith’s sense of internal goodness.

The sustainability value of the mashrabiya veil is boosted by other features including gray water and rain water collection systems, and an open-air terrace on the ground floor. The traditional style balances with modern amenities including CCTV monitoring, backup generators and high-speed elevators, as well as a kitchenette on each floor, an on-site gym and a dedicated prayer hall.

MDL keeps its own offices in the FCB Mihrab building, as does stakeholder First Community Bank, and expects tenants to abide by the same Islamic finance principles that MDL used when developing the project. That includes avoiding businesses dealings or managing portfolios tied to alcohol, gambling, usury or other investments.

Image: FCB Mihrab

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