The Karura Forest Reserve located in the northern part of Nairobi County, bordering the Muthaiga, Gigiri and Runda residential areas, is an environmental centre that will seek to educate people on the many species of plants, birds, insects and mammals to be found within Karura's diverse landscape. The centre, situated on around fifteen acres of a former sports club, will be surrounded by the closed-canopy forest close to the Kenya Teachers Training College, the International Center for Research in Agro-forestry and the United Nations Environment Programme Headquarters

The vision for the site is for a world-class transformational education centre focusing on environmental sustainability in the region, with an emphasis on the youth.

The forest is a ‘green lung’ for the polluted city" of Nairobi and is also a water catchment area for several rivers and has a unique recreational and educational potential for Nairobi dwellers to enjoy, understand and stay in touch with their natural heritage. The forest itself contains a 20-meter waterfall, Mau-Mau caves, wetlands, a lily-strewn lake and over fifty kilometres of trails for bird walks or jogging.

Attempting to change attitudes towards the management and the conservation of the environment, in particular forests, and the sustainable use of natural resources through education programming, the centre will aim to sensitize and educate people on current and emerging national and global environmental issues. Alongside educating people through training and providing a forum for educational exchange, the trust also hopes to showcase sustainable livelihoods, green economy, green energy sources, green lifestyles.

The design incorporates a strict engagement with a sustainable use of natural resources, limiting the development as far as is reasonable within the currently built-up area and prevent encroaching onto surrounding natural habitats. The design aims to make the centre as self sufficient as possible in the use of natural resources, such as water, and energy. 

Plans also feature:

a foyer that also is a space for a permanent exhibition

on Karura Forest to inform people on the history and the value of Karura Forest as well as on the history of the Shell Sports Club

temporary exhibitions area

on corridors or verandah and such spaces that can have interactive screens with individual controls and headsets

an "e-library"

 to exhibit and make available the most recent publications from the main environmental and forestry stakeholders in the region and around the world

an auditorium

capable of accommodating around 200 persons to provide a main venue for topical presentations and debates

small conference rooms

for a maximum of 20 people each to host meetings and seminars

cafeteria and eco-gift shop

Alongside the building, plans for landscaping include an outdoor amphitheatre for discussions, presentations and discourses amidst the lush greenery, birdsong and fresh air of the forest.

Client Karura Forest Environmental Education Trust
Winning Competiton Proposal 2014