GoDown Arts Centrea Winner at

2019World Architecture Festival


The architectural vision for the upcoming GoDown Arts Center haswon the 2019 “Culture-Future Projects” category at the 2019 World ArchitectureFestival. This is big news for the cultural and creative industries in Kenya.

For15 years the GoDown has served as a home, workplace, meeting place and addressfor artists. It has contributed to their stability, legitimacy, visibility andcreative confidence. The strength of the GoDown as one of Kenya’s leading centersfor arts and culture lies in its diverse programming: the training anddevelopment of artists, alongside sector impacting events such as the east Africaarts summit, the creative entrepreneurship and copyright courses, and localevents.

Since it opened in 2003,The GoDown Arts Centre has become the heart and soul of the Nairobi arts andculture scene, with over 300 young Kenyan artists working and training everyday, and more than 40,000 visitors each year.

 With an vision to transform intoone of east Africa’s leading contemporary arts complexes, and to significantlyexpand its role as an open, accessible community space for Kenyans, the new design will bring a transformative addition to Nairobi’sarchitectural landscape as the first civic-scale contemporary arts and culturecomplex in post-colonial Kenya.


It will house a 500-seatmultipurpose performance space; three floors of art galleries; a youthempowerment center and a children’s creative lab; a two-floor library anddigital resource center; a mini-museum of the city; 20 visual artists studiosand 20 workspaces for creative businesses; film, media, music and dancestudios; food court restaurants and retail outlets and offices; publiccourtyards, roof-top gardens and basement parking.


This will be a major boostto Kenya’s emerging cultural industries and help regenerate the urban area atthe edge of the future, mixed-use railway district. It will also offer evenmore opportunities for creatives and audiences.

Winningisn’t everything, it’s the only thing.

Thewin is the result of a collaborative process thatbegan in 2011. Led by two award-winning architectural firms, White Arkitekter(Sweden) and Planning Systems (Kenya), the new vision has included views fromlocal artists, city residents and businesses, Nairobi school children andyouth, urban developers and planners.


The annual Festival inAmsterdam celebrates the world’s most inspiring and outstanding architecturefor New Developments and Future Projects with live judging presentations fromover 500 award finalists.



In the citation, theJudges commended the designers with these words:  

“Strong social and anthropological studies leading toconsultation and participating client relations. Multidisciplinary andinternational team. Combination of social, traditional and environmentalobjectives clearly articulated.”

“Good use of local materials and construction.Clear idea of in habilitation articulated in presentation – but a strong senseof the need for spontaneity throughout the public spaces. Courtyard appearsvibrant and believable.

The GoDown Arts Center are key members of theCreative Economy Working Group and we congratulate Joy Mboya and her team.  We cannot wait for the New Godown ArtsCenter.






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