Lessons from Nairobi and Future Prospects
Changes in architectural education in the East African region for over half a century do not appear to have made discernible difference to social and environmental concerns in the built environment. The formulation of the curriculum is partly to blame and requires scrutiny. This paper has reviewed the influences and adequacy of architectural education since its inception in Nairobi. The approach of the study was through a review of archival materials at the University of Nairobi, literature review of contemporary architectural education and input from architectural practitioners. The study found that increased demand for architectural education has witnessed the establishment of new schools in Kenya and across the East African region, a pointer to increased demand for architectural services. However, observation of the region’s built environment has not witnessed a variety of architectural products that match the increased number of schools. The study found that apart from resource constraints, the curriculum for architectural education across schools has many similarities. To confront current and future built environment challenges, Schools of Architecture should anchor their training model on varied philosophical approaches rather than conform to a single or uniform model, invest in modern training facilities and tools, and actively engage the industry and professionals in training. The study recommends that while training guidelines provided by various architectural bodies and institutions are important, Schools should be required to be continuously innovative in the manner in which they develop and periodically reappraise the curriculum to make it more accommodative, innovative and predictive of the future demands and needs of the society.