Stanlib, Chestnut to Build $50m Mall in Kampala

13-February-2017 by Bernard Busuulwa

South African property developer, Stanlib in partnership with Chestnut Uganda plan to construct a $50 million shopping mall in Kampala’s suburb, Makindye Municipality. The Arena Mall will be built on a five-acre piece of land, less than 2km from the capital’s central business district. Stanlib’s private equity Africa Direct Property Development Fund will provide $30 million with $20 million debt from Standard Bank South Africa. Standard Bank is Stanlib’s parent company.

The mall will occupy 14,000 square metres with two levels of shopping space, a rooftop cinema, restaurant and parking. Construction works are scheduled to begin in the first quarter this year with the mall expected to be open in 2018. According to real estate players, Makindye was the only municipality in Kampala that lacked a high-end shopping mall despite a presence of a middle-class with purchasing power. Among prominent organisations neighbouring the mall will be the American Embassy, Nsambya hospital and Kampala International University.

“The infrastructure development taking place near Makindye Municipality such as the Kampala-Entebbe Express Way that also bears the Munyonyo Spur and planned development of the Clock Tower flyover will drive future demand for retail space dedicated to low and middle-income consumers. “The Arena Mall will also fill a big shopping mall gap in this area and also tap into some neighbouring areas of Nakawa Municipality and Entebbe Road,” said Judy Rugasira Kyanda, Knight Frank Uganda’s managing director.

Knight Frank will be the letting agent of the upcoming mall. Seyani Brothers Uganda Limited is the main contractor for the project while Bowman Associates Architects and SASA Architects are architects.


Kabaka’s Lake Redevelopment Master plan Unveiled

02-September-2016 by Buganda Kingdom

As His Majesty the Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II willed to have a wholesome development of all properties belonging to the Kingdom, the process has seen a number of projects worked upon and many others still in frame. Among the accomplished projects include, Kasubi Masiro Royal Tombs, Wamala Tombs, Masengere building and Namasole’s house. Now a major emphasis has been now laid on the Kabaka’s Lake Redevelopment on which the Buganda Twezimbe task force and SASA Infrastructure Design Group as their lead consultants have for a period of three months engaged in design and master planning.

While unveiling the master plan at Bulange Mmengo, senior Architect Dr. Kenneth Ssemwogerere said that the plan if implemented will be the first of its kind in Uganda and will attract more tourists to Buganda.

A total of 39.8 acres has been divided into recreational, leisure, cultural, lake and water sports. The whole master plan features the following; • A leisure park on 5 acres, • An open exhibition and open craft market on 1.5 a cres • Jogging and cycling trails, • Lake Museum, • Aquarium containing the whole collection of Buganda’s aquatic species, • Kabaka Mwanga II monument, • Garden and parking yard of 100 cars for the park and lake visitors • A variety of water sports, floating restaurant, and water performance shows.

According to Ritah Namyalo Kisitu, the state minister for tourism, the master plan also emphasises functionality and security, systems for cleaning the water and reticulation, smart design and energy conservation have been put as well as police posts, guard units, and towers to make the place secure. John Fred Kiyimba Freeman, chairman Buganda Twezimbe noted that some of the development activities that feature in the master plan will be implemented through the Public Private partnership so as to complete the project in time.



New Multi-unit Residential Project by Local Architects in Uganda

13-June-2016 by PropertyWheel_GW

It has been said many times that Africa is not a uniform place in which every country and every market conforms to the same rules and circumstances. Yet, how many South African professionals really take that to heart when venturing outside of SA’s borders to do business? Architecture is a profession which requires one to be particularly open to continual listening and learning, and the partners at Messaris Wapenaar Cole Architects believe that the willingness of even a seasoned professional to do this, and to work collaboratively, makes a significant difference to doing successful business in other African countries.

The firm has seen particular evidence of this in some of its own projects. The Edge, a sizable new upmarket residential development in Kampala, Uganda, is a good current example. This 160-unit complex in Naayla, Kampala, is being developed by Ascent Point Investments, a Ugandan property development company. Messaris Wapenaar Cole Architects (MWCA) secured the project based on its extensive experience in high density residential architecture, with the firm having been referred to Ascent Point Investments by one of its long-standing South African clients, Limestone Properties.

Its track record of successfully completing projects in a variety of African countries was an additional contributing factor.

A process of continual learning

Jeffrey Cole, the partner in charge of The Edge project at MWCA, comments that although the firm has approximately 30 years’ experience in residential projects and over ten years of experience in Africa, the success of every aspect of the design in this project has been as a result of willingness to learn about the cultural and lifestyle requirements of Ugandans, the business and operating environment in that country, and the overall social, environmental and infrastructural conditions which inform the process.

“Our design of the units at The Edge initially followed a fairly typical South African model, which is the one we know best and which therefore served as a point of departure for the design process,” he explains. “We then spent a great deal of time with the our client discussing how aspects of the Ugandan culture and way of living needed to be accommodated in the design.” For example, Ugandans tend to be extremely private people and issues of privacy and visibility are of much greater concern than they are to the average South African. Aspects such as common walkways, lines of sight, the creation of multiple and discreet entry and exit points from units all had to be considered. The creation of public and private areas also had to be given additional thought.

In addition, most people in Uganda still do a great deal of cooking outside. Matoke – a variety of starchy banana – is a commonly eaten dish in East Africa and is generally cooked by steaming it over a charcoal or wood fire – an activity which most often takes place outside. Not only does this mean that every unit in The Edge requires a fair-sized courtyard space in which residents can cook, but since the process tends to generate a lot of waste material, it was necessary to provide a waste yard for every block in the complex rather than just one for the entire complex.

Setting a new standard for Kampala

With there not being a great many precedents for attractive and upmarket residential complexes in Kampala at present, the professional team and the client devoted long hours to finding the best ways to design something that would stand out in the Ugandan market – that would raise the bar for residential development – but which would also meet all the functional and aspirational needs of residents. “Our client, Mr Henry Lubwama, wanted to develop something special on this site. There is not much in the way of original development in Kampala at the moment – there is a great deal of replication, and residential complexes don’t tend to be well planned or to accommodate Ugandan lifestyles well,” comments Cole.

Accordingly, the client has spared no effort when it comes to making this development stand out from the rest. Located on a gently sloping site, the development consists principally of three residential blocks and a clubhouse. Amenities include a complete gym and saunas; a pool and a rentable entertainment area with kitchen; a jogging track and a children’s playground. The residential blocks are between four and six storeys in height, and are served by elevators. “It is so important for the development to present an attractive public face that our client has undertaken to improve every approach road to the complex at his own expense. This includes surfacing the roads (which are otherwise dirt roads), managing storm water runoff, and planting pavements. Unlike in South Africa, this is not expected of developers in Uganda – the client is doing it completely voluntarily,” Cole adds.

The Edge is designed to appeal to wealthier Ugandans and to the young and rising middle class who, although they may work or study overseas, still want to invest and secure property in their home country. In addition to considering the various cultural requirements important to Ugandans, the design of the units had to be stylish and contemporary – on a par with what well-educated and well- traveled people have been exposed to.

Furthermore, the complex is fully equipped to provide backup power and water to all units. Since power supply can be unreliable, each unit has the ability to be fitted with an inverter. Water tanks installed around the complex are able to provide 1,200 litres of water a day to each household for three full days in the event of a water supply problem. Storm water runoff is being managed by means of a walled-off basketball court which functions as an attenuation pond after a downpour.

The team even had to provide for proper sewage disposal from the site, which has been done by means of sharing a properly designed mini sewage treatment plant with a neighbouring development.

Detailed coordination and planning required

Whilst MWCA has undertaken all the conceptual and design work on The Edge, the full professional team in Uganda also includes a Ugandan architect of record, as required by law. This architectural firm, SASA (headed up by Dr. Kenneth Ssemwogerere) is actively involved in daily site management. Cole reports that the working process as a team has been smooth, comfortable and collaborative.

“We have had many workshop sessions together to ensure that everyone is able to implement best practices and to work optimally as a team,” he says. One of the aspects of the job which has needed more attention than usual has been the development of generic specification documents for the contractor to work from. “Uganda doesn’t currently have legislated building codes, although the authorities are working on implementing something in the near future. However, because of our experience in Africa, we are familiar with the process of generating functional and performance-based specification documents which are largely based on British or European standards. For example, rather than specifying a branded product, the specification needs to describe how the product must perform and what materials it must be made of,” he elaborates.

While projects such as this may not afford architects from South Africa the comfort of the familiar systems and formulas, MWCA’s philosophy is that adaptability, flexibility and the willingness to learn ultimately make for a stronger practice all round. Old and accepted ideas in one’s familiar environment can be challenged, whilst everyone involved in a project which presents unfamiliar aspects, has the opportunity to broaden their knowledge. It is clear that this approach, combined with the firm’s long-established reputation in the residential market and its African exposure, have served it well. While The Edge is progressing smoothly, the company has since been appointed by the same client to undertake another upmarket residential development near Lake Victoria.

“We look forward to applying what we have learnt on The Edge on this new project, to improving on that knowledge, and to deepening our relationship with HL Investments as a client,” Cole concludes.



New Buganda Monument gets Tourism Ministry Nod

11-April-2016 by Cecilia Okoth

KAMPALA - The ministry of tourism, wildlife and antiquities has registered a new Buganda monument as an object of monumental value to Uganda’s inventory list of historic places and properties. The monument, whose centerpiece is a gigantic split drum (called engalabi in Luganda), is located at the roundabout along the Kabaka Anjagala road in Rubaga. It is the combined work of three sets of teams: SASA Architects designed it while Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and Global Youth Artisans built it.

Rose Mwanja Nkaale, the commissioner of museums and monuments in the tourism ministry wrote a letter to KCCA executive director Jennifer Musisi over the Nantawetwa Monument. In the missive, Nkaale said a group of conservators from the development of museums and monuments, voted the property as nationally important. "At an appropriate time a certificate will be issued,” she said. The property, Nkaale added, “is associated with important events or activities to the lives and wellbeing of Buganda Kingdom’s long history and their kings' greatness/supremacy, resulting in the name ‘Kabaka Nantawetwa’.

The monument is in the middle of the stretch from Bulange (headquarters of the Buganda government) and the Lubiri (the king’s palace). The stretch is also known as the Royal Mile or King's Way. The structure rises 11 metres above the ground and the area has a diameter of 12.8 metres. The spear and shield hanging in the middle of the split drum represent the kingdom’s emblem seen on the Buganda flag.

The concept

According to KCCA, the concept for this monument was based on the most popular musical instruments in Uganda – drums. The engalabi (long drum), popular in different Kiganda dances, was selected due to its length and uniqueness in shape. At the base of the split drum are other drums (Nankasa) to represent the complete set of drums used in Buganda culture. These drums were made of reinforced concrete and anchored in a reinforced concrete base.

So why was the monument’s engalabi split into two ? To provide access through the centre of the roundabout. At the core of each half drum is a hollow steel frame covered with reinforced concrete. The facades were given a textured finish to represent the timber from which drums are made – and also give it a more real look.

KCCA's task

According to KCCA deputy spokesperson Robert Kalumba, restoration works on Royal Mile, whose main feature is the monument, began in April last year. The project was done by KCCA with funding support from private companies and individuals.

Last October, KCCA boss Musisi handed over the monument to Buganda kingdom. At the event, Katikkiro (Buganda prime minister) Charles Peter Mayiga hailed Musisi and the team for supporting Buganda projects and changing the face of Kampala city. Kalumba says that apart from the drums, outdoor lighting was incorporated within the monument in order to illuminate the monument at night, making it visible to motorists and pedestrians moving along the Royal Mile.


Quoting Buganda elders, Kalumba explains that Nantawetwa, a restricted access through the roundabout, is only used by the Kabaka while traveling from Lubiri to Bulange. "In Buganda tradition, Bulange and the Lubiri are situated at either end of a straight axis in order to accommodate a historic belief that the spirits that watch over the Kabaka walk in a straight line," explains Kalumba. “The Baganda maintain that the straight route between the Bulange and Lubiri was also to ensure that there is no obstacle between the Kabaka's way. “At the inception , the strategic location of the Bulange was also with the intention to look out for enemies who may attack the Kabaka's palace. This created the straight ceremonial line or road between Lubiri and Bulange called the Royal Mile or the King's Way."


Centre for Excellence Design Project Handed Over to Nnabagereka

21-May-2015 by Buganda Kingdom

The department of Architecture and physical planning of Makerere University have handed over a design project of the Royal Centre for Excellence to the Nnabagereka of Buganda Sylivia Nagginda at a ceremony held at Bulange Mmengo. Speaking at the handover, Nnabagereka Syliva Nagginda said, often unfolding this great idea of The Royal Enclosure opens avenues for many to be part of a team of visionaries that will pioneer innovation in a way of pre-empting present-day world challenges by building transformative leadership, mentorship, entrepreneurship and excellence amongst the young generation.

“Nnabagereka Development Foundation and Buganda Kingdom, we value culture as a form of expression that unites us as a people. We value the creativity and innovation of our own people, we hold dear the promotion of African ideas and cherish harmonizing of traditional and modernity as a way to ensuring sustainable development” .she added Nnabagereka implored upon the public to come and join her in creating the 1st ever leadership centre of excellence that uses culture as a theory of change.

On behalf of the Katikkiro, the 2nd deputy Katikkiro and minister for culture, heritage and tourism revealed that the Ekisaakaate Kya Nnabagereka project is one of the most successful projects of Buganda Kingdom. He said the Transcending Time project is promising and will help to maintain the cultural norms and values of Buganda. The design has been created by James Kalyango a student of Makerere University Department of Architect under the umbrella of SASA.

The Royal Centre of Excellence will be located in Ssisa Wakiso District.

The Nnabagereka Development Foundation aspires to create a centre of Excellence that allows for all-year round Ekisaakaate Kya Nnabagereka programmes. The center shall use culture as a positive element to nurture and incubate practical non-academic social skills development and entrepreneurship that are essential elements in the contemporary world. The facility addresses practical training and theoretical learning spaces, sports and recreation grounds, accommodation units, staff and administration offices, multipurpose performance hall, amphitheaters, dispensary, farm, kitchen and dining space.

Design Aspiration: Ideologically derived, the design intends to recreate and transcending the users through various timelines that Buganda experienced as a Kingdom and their impact on society. Standing tall, the building volume initially captures traditional Buganda as a prime Kingdom over the times. Then progressively breaks down into the vast open landscape reflecting on the abolition of monarchies in Uganda, an enduring Kingdom from 1966 to 1993, to the rebirth and rise of a once flourishing Kingdom. Thus the building’s growth thereafter depicts an opportunity to once again practice a rich cultural heritage extensively under the leadership of a restored royal Kingship.

Total construction cost of the entire project is estimated between US$ 10,000,000 to US$ 12,000,000.