From drawing in sand to establishing an architecture firm

The firm introduced an internship programme for tertiary institutions.

29 January 2021 | People

Michelline Nawatises

“Most afternoons are spent either on site, or at the building council to get the plan approved. I would mostly stay till 20:00 to ensure that tasks are completed, and emails are answered.” - Javier Kerii – founder of Kerii Architects & Designers (KAD)

Kerii Architects & Designers [KAD] is an architectural firm based in Windhoek providing service for commercial, industrial, and institutional building designs and documentation.

Kerii Architects & Designers was founded in 2018 by Javier Kerii, a registered architect.

His early schooling career started at the village of Coblenz in the Otjozondupa region, where he completed primary school at Coblenz Combined School before moving to Concordia College where he matriculated in 2006.

After high school, he enrolled at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (South Africa) where he completed his Diploma in Architecture [2010] and Bachelor of Architectural Technology, graduating with distinction (2011).

Upon completing his studies at CPUT he enrolled at the University of the Free State in South Africa for an honours in architecture and masters in architecture, where he graduated with a distinction in design in 2013.

The position of director of the firm has been a quite challenging one

Kerii says the greatest challenge was to stay humble, motivated, and lead even though the industry has been hard hit by the economic downturn, Covid-19, and many other aspects affecting our economy negatively.

“Another challenge encountered was during my studies was to pay my tuition fees at the time, but with help of my brother (Gad Kangueehi) and late uncle (Cleophas Mutjavikua), I was able to pursue a career in architecture,” he says. He adds that he will always be grateful for the career breakthrough made possible by Marley Tjitjo, founder of Marley Tjitjo Architects.

HIs short-term goals for the practice are to ensure that more Namibians are exposed to a career in architecture by providing a platform to the upcoming young architects and technologists.

The firm has also introduced an internship programme for the University of Science and Technology (NUST) and other university students, and they plan on expanding the training department to have more students on board.

“Currently, we are also undergoing transformation by adding other creative designers on board, namely interior designers, graphic designers and furniture designers,” Kerii says.

Kerii is proud of his young dynamic team that always ensures that the client’s interests are put first. They also strive to push boundaries in the field of architecture and merging it with the creative world of art.

Kerii’s day starts with morning meditation and prayer before he leaves home.

The typical workday starts by meeting with the team to ensure that they have their weekly tasks, as well as meeting with new and old clients to discuss projects.

“Most afternoons are spent either on site, or at the building council to get the plan approved. I would mostly stay till 20:00 to ensure that tasks are completed, and emails are answered,” he adds.

His inspiration is to become one of the leading architects in the country and to take Namibian architecture to the next level like his mentor Marley Tjitjo, Ricardo Michaels, Gloria Kamau, Mokena Makeka and Francois Kere.

Kerii says the pandemic has shown us that we need to understand the role of architecture post-pandemic and the ways we inhabit a building.

“The notion of sustainable architecture and interior design has now become the new norm,” he says.

His best childhood memory is when founding president Sam Nujoma visited the village of Coblenz in 1994. As a grade one pupil he had the opportunity to go and view his presidential helicopter and for days after that event he was always drawing the helicopter in the sand.

His father, Johannes Kerii, was proud of his artistic talent and showed off the sand drawings to his friends. “Looking back at this event, I am proud to say that it was the moment when I started my career in architecture,” Kerii says.

10 Facts about Javier Kerii

· He likes to cook and eat.

· Kerii is passionate about music.

· He is a sentimental human being and he feels the big feels.

· He is expressive, especially with people he trusts.

· Kerii is 1.73 metres tall and the shortest brother in the family.

· He is good at mathematics.

· He searches to hear the purpose in small things.

· Kerii is an artistic person and would rather draw than tell a story, believing that a picture is worth a thousand words.

· He has a dog named Bruno.

· Kerii loves to make people laugh at the dinner table.

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