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Architect awarded honorary degree

South Eastern Kenya University (SEKU) has awarded an honorary degree to the first Kenyan architect 89 year-old David Muoka Mutiso for his exemplary public service career spanning over five decades as a practicing architect, physical planner and urban designer.

Reading his citation during SEKU’s 8th graduation ceremony, Vice-Chancellor Prof Geoffrey Muluvi said Arch Mutiso joined the City Council of Nairobi in 1960 as an Assistant Architect trainee.

“Born on July 10, 1932, Mutiso pursued primary school education in Machakos and Alliance High School for secondary school education.  In 1954, he was admitted to the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom to pursue an undergraduate degree programme in Architecture,” said Prof Muluvi.

Arch Mutiso graduated in 1959 with Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from the University of Sheffield and also attended the College of Arts Nottingham, where he was awarded with a diploma in Town and Country Planning.

The then young and budding architect was appointed an Assistant Architect in 1959 and an Architect in 1960. Further, in 1959 through 1960, he served as the Town Planning Government Adviser.

“His talents and determination were noticed and he joined the Ministry of Works (MOW) Government of Kenya as a Town Planner in 1965,” said Prof Muluvi.

In 1966, Arch Mutiso was promoted to be the Superintendent Architect for the Ministry of Works and subsequently the first Kenyan Chief Architect a position he served in until 1994 upon his retirement from public service.

As the Chief Architect, he coordinated and managed multi-disciplinary teams of Surveyors, Architects and Engineers in designing and implementing various Government of Kenya projects among them the iconic Kenyatta International Convention Center (KICC).

Other projects during his tenure include Kisii Teachers Training College now Kisii University, extension of the Attorney General’s office, Kiambu Police Station, Homabay Hospital and Police Housing Project in South B.

Importantly, he was the convenor and key member of a team of experts drawn from the building department of the Ministry of Works and the Kenya private sector that studied and evaluated building and planning by-laws used by various municipalities in South Africa, India, the United Kingdom and the United States of America (USA).

The team developed a model building code that was adopted by local authorities in Kenya resulting in the Kenya National Building Regulations.

Arch Mutiso was also instrumental in the preparation of Building Control Regulations for the Governments of Botswana and Malawi.

Architect Mutiso is credited with making significant contributions in affordable housing and addressing the challenges of informal settlements through the design of Umoja, Kayole, Dandora and Komarock Estates in the Nairobi Metropolis and the Chaani Estate in Changamwe Constituency in Mombasa.

He was also involved in designing the squatter upgrading dwellings at Kipkarren, Rift Valley, in addition to the design and development of Buru Buru Housing Estate comprising of over 5,000 middle income houses.

Architect Mutiso was instrumental in designing and building the current National Treasury Building in Nairobi, the Demonstration Centre and underground car park for the Kenya Power and Lighting Company building in Nairobi.

He designed the Kenya National Archives building in Nairobi and was involved in the design of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) headquarters at Gigiri, Nairobi.

Architect Mutiso has contributed to the Education sector through development of master plans and design of buildings for Egerton University Master Plan, Inoorero University Master Plan, design of the Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology library, design of the Jomo Kenyatta Memorial Library at the University of Nairobi, design of the Kenya Technical Teachers College and Wildlife Training Institute, Naivasha.

Mutiso served as the second Chairman of Ukamba Agricultural Institute (UKAI) which was the predecessor of the South Eastern University College which later evolved to the current South Eastern Kenya University (SEKU).

In 1994, Architect Mutiso founded the firm Mutiso and Menezes International Architects and Planning consultants, which he served as a private consultant.

As a senior partner for Mutiso Menezes International Consultants, he continued to lead multi-disciplinary teams to design and complete various international and national projects among them the Loresho Housing Estate, Nairobi; Umoja Phase 2, a project that was funded by the Nairobi City Council and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Architect Mutiso has had extensive Board experience and has served in the following capacities: Vice Chairman of Council Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology; Board member Pan African Insurance Company of East Africa.

South Eastern Kenya University (SEKU) staff robing the first Kenyan architect 89 year-old David Muoka Mutiso (centre) during the university’s 8th graduation ceremony

In his service to Kenya, Arch Mutiso has upheld the tenets of integrity and ethics in management and decision making in his professional career and personal life.

Arch Mutiso is a Registered Architect and member and Fellow of several professional societies which include Member, Royal Institute of British Architects; Fellow, Architectural Association of Kenya; Member, Architectural Association of Tanzania; and Member, Kenya Institute of Planners.

Arch Mutiso is also a registered Physical Planner and a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

In December 2005, he was awarded with the Head of State Commendation (HSC-Civilian division) for his dedication to the service of the nation, Arch Mutiso is married and has four children.

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