ICT Campus in Kenya Opens

John Hill
30. June 2021
Photo © Kéré Architecture

The Startup Lions Campus, designed by Kéré Architecture, has opened on the banks of Lake Turkana. The building's form, inspired by termite mounds, naturally ventilates the interior spaces and creates a local landmark.

Responding to the unemployment of young people in the region, the campus provides training and education in programming, graphic design, and media production for around 200 students. Startup Lions was the winner of a 2018 Google Impact challenge, which gave $250,000 to help the school connect its students to international job opportunities. The campus stacks co-working spaces above classrooms so both education and work can take place on-site.

Aerial view of the Startup Lions campus. (Photo © Kéré Architecture)
Diagram of program spaces at the campus. (Drawing © Kéré Architecture)

Architecturally, the building was inspired by termite mounds that are found in the area, resulting in tall ventilation towers that drawing cool air into the building and push warm air up and out through the stack effect. The system was adopted so the campus located on the banks of the world's largest desert lake can operate during periods of extreme heat, and to prevent dust damaging the computers and servers.

A photograph clearly shows the relationship between the new campus and the structures built by termite colonies. (Photo © Kéré Architecture)
An illustration of the stack effect enabled by the towers, gaps in the floors, and low-level openings in the exterior walls. (Drawing © Kéré Architecture)

Architect Francis Kéré said in a statement: "From the very beginning the project has had collaborative building and learning at its heart. We had imagined an educational facility that blended with the striking natural landscape that surrounds it, mirroring the ingenious structures built by the terminates close by. It is a special honor for me and my team to have been able to provide the shape for this incredible educational facility and I am looking forward to how it may expand and most importantly see its students succeed."

The buildings follow the site's topography and provides shaded rooftop spaces for meetings and to take in views of the lake. (Photo © Kéré Architecture)
Exterior walls were made from locally sourced quarry stone finished in plaster with warm earth tones. (Photo © Kéré Architecture)
Students at the campus start as "Learning Lions," stay on as "Digital Lions" to gain hands-on business experience, and then advance to "Startup Lions" after starting their own businesses and becoming financially independent. (Photo © Kéré Architecture)

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