Until its demolition in the summer of 2014, the KTDA Chai House was the last widely visible and accessible proof of the lively Futurism, which, for a short, upbeat period, played a role in the urban, post-colonial Africa of the 1960s and early 1970s.
The self-confidence of an independent nation manifested itself in this building. Located in the centre of Nairobi, it represented Kenya’s greatest economic wealth after coffee: the KTDA is the tea growers’ interest group, who played a significant role in the decolonization process. Not satisfied with demonstrating their progressive stance with a mere modern office building, these representatives of modern agriculture treated themselves to a building extension in the form of a “flying saucer”: a round construction supported by a single column. The building’s annex harboured the popular New Florida Nightclub, where citizens of the Kenyan capital were able to celebrate themselves and their proud nation. Below it, a petrol station completed an unusual triad of building users. The building was included in a study by Basel-based architecture theorist Manuel Herz, who recently conducted a comprehensive study of Modern African architecture.