Architects are underrated in a country where everyone seems to simply point at a block of apartments and say “I want like that one.” There are few bold building designs and many structures that don’t make sense.
There are several architectural firms like FBW Uganda, a group of Architects and Engineers. Mary Rose Akii, a 32-year-old registered architect heading a team of 8 others, collaborates with in-house structural engineering team and mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) engineers to deliver the quality that FBW has come to be well known for.
To many people, structural engineers are the people architects consult to make sure they are not breaking down a wall that might be essential in holding up a building. To Akii, they are also the people who ensure the building she has designed will stand up. The engineers also deal with heating and/or cooling systems in a building, plumbing and electrical wiring.
With a day that includes meetings, office time, site visits, the FBW team is a busy team. FBW also has offices in Kigali and Nairobi while the Kampala office, in which Akii sits, serves both the Uganda and Tanzania market. The group has been operating in Uganda for over 20 years, working on numerous projects.
Architects design homes and offices, malls and schools – places in which we spend most of our time, and therefore responsible for ensuring the safety of human lives in the spaces we spend most of our time. This is not a responsibility Akii takes lightly. Her profession has to ensure that the buildings are designed to the proper standards and are safe.
In design, safety is always her first priority. Her second is to deliver exceptional work.
Exceptional designs are important to FBW Uganda who know the appeal and importance of a well-designed structure. Some of the buildings they have done include the Kampala International School of Uganda. The school is designed to be not just a place where students learn, but where they grow and play together. And the design reflects that.
While there are great architectural firms like this in the country, the appreciation remains low. This does not dissuade Akii who hopes that the architectural landscape for Uganda is bolder and better in the future. We shall certainly see more designs done by her and her team.