James Njuguna Gitoho, is the Principal Partner at Triad Architects. He is best known as the architect behind the imposing Barclays Plaza building along Loita Street, which the firm won through a design competition.
With ambitions of becoming a Mechanical Engineer from a tender age, James worked his way through school, first at Pumwani Primary School, then Nairobi Technical School for 'O Levels' and later Jamuhuri High School for 'A Levels'. He qualified to join the Department of Architecture, University of Nairobi in 1976 to study Architecture.
Still with his ambitions of pursuing his long term Mechanical Engineering, James set out to change courses and join the Department of Engineering to pursue a degree course in Mechanical Engineering. However, patience was a virtue he wasn't abundantly blessed with at the time and having waited on the queue all morning; he simply gave up and dropped his bid for Mechanical Engineering effectively setting out for a journey in the field of architecture.
That was such an unlikely beginning to an eventful career that saw him rise to become Director at Triad Architects and the man behind several dozen notable projects in Kenya and within the region in addition to being admitted as a fellow of the Architectural Association of Kenya, the highest rank for architects in Kenya. He has also served the profession, business community and society at large in various other capacities and he currently sits in the Board of Pan Africa Life Insurance Company, a position he has held since 2001. He has previously served the Board of Registration for Architects and Quantity Surveyors (1991 – 1992) and the Association of Professional Societies in East Africa as its Chairman between 1995 and 1998.
Other highlights in his life included his 1982 travel to England on a study tour. The trip through Rome was eventful as it coincided with an industrial strike by staff of Al Italia, the airline he used. The delayed airline transfer saw him stranded in an unfamiliar city all by himself. He traveled back to England in 1987 on a tour with his wife and he became Partner at Triad Architects on the following year.
In 1985, he joined Railways Club and remembers one of his referees who is a senior professional colleague, Kimani Mathu, who also paid his club entrance fees. In 1991, he was awarded the prestigious Commonwealth Scholarship which included two weeks attachment at the Commonwealth headquarters culminating in a luncheon at Buckingham Palace with the queen. This was followed by a two week tour of Tongo, South Pacific and Western Samoa to promote Commonwealth fellowships.
Many other significant projects came later. These include the following:
Mpata Club, a luxurious lodge in Masai Mara that was completed in 1993 in which he worked closely with a Japanese architect, Edward Suzuki
Komarock Housing Estate completed in 1994
The CFC Centre along Waiyaki Way that was completed in 1998
Times Towers completed in 1997 in which he worked with his fellow partner, Daniel Mutiso
Communications Commission of Kenya Headquarters along Waiyaki Way which was completed in 2004
United Mall in Kisumu which was completed in 2005
The Nairobi Hospital South Wing which was completed in 2007
Delloite Place along Waiyaki Way completed in 2010.
Housing estates for Kenya Ports Authority Pension Scheme in South C Nairobi which are still in progress