Planning Context

Kigali Heights Development site is located within the Kimihurura District. The Sub Area masterplan describes the Kimihurura Area as ‘centrally located within one of the most highly developed areas of Kigali and is surrounded by important existing and proposed urban elements.


These include Government of Rwanda Ministries, Parliament and Agencies. In addition, the new Kigali Conference
Centre and Hotel, located adjacent to the Sub Area site, will anchor Kimihurura development and position it as an iconic Kigali location.
The Sub Area is envisioned to be a Gateway to the City from the Kigali International Airport and an extremely important symbolic urban space for the “new Rwanda.” ‘

An elaborate detailed vision has been set out and established through the Kigali City Conceptual Masterplan. Within the strategic and structural masterplan, a planning context for the Kimihurura Area was established, which sets the Land use, Density and Urban Character which will guide any proposals brought forward for development in this area.

Project Vision


Summary of Brief

The Kigali Heights building project seeks to deliver a world class office block in the heart of Kimihurura with 12,750sqm of class A office space, 5,250 sqm of prime retail space, 300 car parking spaces

The Office Space

Grade A offices, to serve the most demanding of blue chip clientele requiring quality and prestige space. Office space  esigned to be flexible for a single occupant or for multiple tenants. Energy efficiency should be at the core of the design proposals. The building should have the capacity for expansion with ample car parking.

The Retail Space

High quality retail space, to create a desirable shopping and food and beverage environment. Flexible retail space that is capable of being partitioned into small mall units or large single retail units. Good quality external space for the food and beverage (restaurant and café) offerings.

The Public Realm

Integration with the wider public realm, the building should be designed to have active frontages to the street and roundabout frontages and not as a fortress with high walls and fences. The building should emerge as a part of the urban environment and not alien to it, with legible pedestrian and vehicular zones, drop off’s and good mix of hard and soft spaces.

Site Location


The development site falls within the north eastern quadrant of the Kimihurura Round About and the area is zoned for mixed use development. The roundabout is a junction to 3 major arterial roads Boulevard de l’Umuganda to Kacyiru, Kigali International Airport Road, from Nyarugenge and Muhima (CBD) and Vers Kibungo to the Kigali International Airport


The site sits along Boulevard de l’Umuganda to the west of the site, Kimuhurura Roundabout to the South and a local road to the east. Boulevard de l’Umuganda is a 2 lane dual carriage way with runs north from the Kimihurura Roundabout lined by large buildings including, Top Tower Hotel and Casino Kigali. Further north along the road are most of the Foreign Diplomatic missions and embassies.



The street to the east of the site is low rise and more residential in scale. On the south east the site bounds the Telecoms plot and faces on the opposite side of the roundabout the under construction Kigali Conference Centre. To
the north of the site is a small access road along which sits a single storey café on an island side between the road networks.


The existing context is expected to change considerably in the implementation of the Kimihurura Sub Area masterplan. Once implemented the context is expected to resemble more of a local urban centre with medium scale buildings of a mixed use nature and urban parks.

Get in Touch


Email: info@kigaliheights.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/kigaliheights

The city aims to attract investors and visitors from all over the world by focusing on sustainable growth driven by the three prongs of sustainability it has identified; ecology, equity and economy. Kigali is one of the fastest growing cities in Africa with the fastest rate of urbanisation, and will need to update both its economic and social infrastructure to accommodate this.


In terms of the Site layout, the principles of hierarchy of a central open public realm surrounded by buildings provides a blank canvas to further carve out a gateway and urban centre with an opportunity to characterise uses within the overall Masterplan.


Building height

The Masterplan design guidelines sets out principles of building heights for all in the Kimihurura sub Area. The masterplan detail guidance suggests that a 9-10 storey buildings may be appropriate on this site to form a gateway.

The scale and height of Kigali Heights Development responds to the Masterplan principles of acting as a Gateway in height.


The building mass is articulated and broken up to create human scale datum on the retail floors that front the public realm. The office levels are set back from the Boulevard de l’Umganda frontage and the Kimihurura Roundabout frontage. The setbacks create public terraces at first floor level for retail and restaurant use.


The Roundabout

The roundabout is a key space in the emergence of the new Gateway. It is designated as an urban park at the heart of a new urban centre. It links the development sites in each of the 5 sectors including the Kigali Conference centre. Kigali Heights Development proposes a building that faces the roundabout.

The lower building follows the curvature of the roundabout with retail fronting the roundabout. On the first floor retail of the curved building, the façade is set back and creates 22m deep public terrace in the form of a plaza on an upper level.

The Façade

The façade and external materials of Kigali heights are key to the success of the form of the building. The building has two primary external material, defining the character lines and concept of the build.


The Pedestrian Walkway/Colonnade


The Kimihurura masterplan proposes a pedestrian path that encircles the roundabout linking each of the 5 land sections off the roundabout and across each of the arterial roads. On the Kigali Heights development site, a colonnade is designed in front of the retail façade; the design intent is for the colonnade to form part of a walkway that encircles the roundabout.

The colonnade is integral to the design of the public realm and how the building interacts with the urban environment. The colonnade brings circulation of the public to an interaction with the building. It is part of shopping precinct on the ground floor of the building. This proposal for the colonnade thus ties the Kigali Heights Development firmly to be part of the roundabout and thus an active and vibrant public realm.




Public realm has been given a priority within the Kimihurura Sub Area Plan. All new buildings should be set within a strong ‘Green Garden Setting’ in order to provide a transition between this strategic area and the older parts of the city. Pedestrian greenways, urban parks, pedestrian boulevards and other forms of traffic calming help to link key areas within the Plan.

The existing roundabout and parkland will form the back drop to the new building and the restaurants and cafes located on the first floor.


Design Approach


The strong geometry of the proposed building has informed and shaped the character of the external spaces. Landscape design principles reinforce these architectural spaces and establish strong character areas around the site, create robust boundary treatments and provide structure to the open spaces as follows:

• To create a hard and soft landscape environment which responds to the existing and proposed character of the area, including a range of locally sourced hard and soft landscape materials to create an easily understood and attractive environment for residents, workers and visitors.

• Using scale, materials, aspect and outlook to create a series of spaces throughout the site which have a strong identity and meet the needs of residents, workers and visitors.

• To introduce distinct pieces of sculpture and art across the site. Artwork will be commissioned by local artisans and reflect the surrounding heritage of Kigali.

• To maintain and extend the existing rights of way which cross the site. The routes will be altered to follow the streets and landscaped corridors across the site promoting a higher level of permeability and connectivity.

• To protect and augment the existing tree-lined boundary to the north if the site to filter views of the car park and to retain as many trees on site as possible. Native and indigenous plants will be used to enhance the ecological value of the site.

• To set out proposals for the long-term management and maintenance of the hard and soft landscape areas in order to
ensure that the proposals achieve their design intentions.