Upon his arrival in Nairobi on Monday, the 3rd of July, His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS inaugurated the newly constructed roof (saqaf) which covers the entire central courtyard (sahat) of the campus.
His Holiness TUS had directed for a permanent roof to be constructed atop the central courtyard following the Ashara Mubaraka event of 2021 which was hosted by Aljamea Nairobi. During that time, a temporary aluminium clear span structure had been erected to transform the central courtyard into a seating area. The temporary roof proved especially beneficial in providing shade during the daytime and shelter from the cool wind currents and constant rains that are characteristic of the Nairobi climate.
Following more than a year of intricate planning and design, work on the permanent structure began in December 2022 and was completed in 3 months time. The roof is made entirely of ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) a versatile and resilient plastic which is preferred for its light weight, strength, durability as well as its ability to transmit UV light, an essential element for the growth of plant life. A combination of fritted and clear ETFE sections allows for the central courtyard to be illuminated and shaded at the same time. It ensures that the 36 date palms in the courtyard receive ample sunlight while creating a comfortable and diffused environment for students and faculty to use the space throughout the day.
During winter months, it has the added benefit of retaining more heat without impairing the natural flow of air through the courtyard and across the entire campus. The clear sections also allow for the minarets to be seen from the courtyard as before, while the steel columns that support the entire structure are designed in such a way that they mimic the date palms and their overhanging fonds, making them unobtrusive and allowing for them to blend into the existing design language of the courtyard.
The roof has also been fitted with state-of-the-art projection mapping, lighting and audio equipment which was used for the first time in an immersive light and sound presentation prepared by students and faculty to welcome His Holiness to the campus. Students also presented a tableau highlighting the numerous academic, cultural and physical activities they engage in on a daily basis throughout their time at the academy which was followed by a vocal recitation and band performance. The facade of Masjid al-Zahra was transformed via projection mapping, into a canvas that took the audience on an artistic journey through the history of Aljamea while showcasing the tireless efforts of Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA and Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS in the construction of its campuses and the holistic edification of its students.