FBW is a 50+ employee strong UK registered international consultancy, established in 1995, to provide professional building services throughout Eastern Africa and the wider region.
Can you give us a history of the practice?
In 1995 two Dutch architects and a British structural engineer formed a partnership in Dar es Salaam; the company, Folkers, van Buiten and Wilks, primarily provided architecture and engineering services in Tanzania. In 1997, when projects were secured in Uganda, the company opened an office in Kampala, managed by Paul Moores, a British architect.
In 2000, the company underwent a change and moved it’s centre of operation to Uganda. Geoff Wilks moved back to the UK and became Chairman of FBW Group in Manchester, Belinda van Buiten and Antoni Folkers continued the Netherlands affiliate as FBW Architecten and in 2002 Nigel Tilling joined Paul Moores as a director of FBW Uganda.
As the group grows and work is secured within the East African region, FBW Rwanda is opened in 2010, managed by directors Antje Eckoldt and Rob Woffenden and, most recently, FBW Kenya is opened in 2015. Directors Stuart Harley and Joseph Debuni provide operations management and engineering leadership to the group from the company’s Kampala office.
We currently maintain 50+ staff within East Africa with a healthy mix of expatriate and local professionals based in our established offices in Kampala, Kigali and Nairobi. Whilst, in Tanzania, we have formed a series of strategic alliances with local firms of architects and engineers who provide the necessary local registration to our projects. Ultimately, we pride ourselves on providing a top quality product and service to our projects in the region.
What do you believe differentiates your work from other practices?
We develop projects to international standards and, in this respect, can provide the best of both worlds – a British company working to international standards that truly understands the local market.
We provide our clients with a ‘one-stop-shop’ offering a full range of professional services to their projects including architecture; civil and structural engineering, MEP (mechanical, electrical and public health) engineering and project management.
What do you have in store for the next twelve months?
Three exciting projects in Kenya; Headquarters for a pharmaceutical company, a branded 4-star hotel and a major shopping mall. In Uganda the design of law courts, offices and police headquarters for the Justice, Law, Order and Society, governmental departments in Uganda, and various commercial, residential, hotel and retail Projects throughout the region.
What about African design inspires you?
The majority of recent developments in the East African regions provide little inspiration, largely imitations of ‘international’ style buildings that are inappropriate for the context and climate. What inspires FBW is the constant experiments of different responses available to utilize the convivial climate and developing the use of locally available materials and skills.
Where do you see African architecture going in the next decade?
FBW Group is taking the lead in maintaining responsive architectural design; hopefully developers will see the benefits of reducing their reliance on importing construction materials and instead embrace local and sustainable solutions.
For more information, visit www.fbwgroup.com