Nigeria and its cities, in particular Lagos, are undergoing architectural transformations to meet the demand of fast-growing urban populations. Here are five names on the Nigerian architecture scene who are shaking things up with their innovative design solutions
Over the past decade, Nigerian architecture has seen a seismic shift in growth and investment, and a new generation of architects is offering alternatives to the lacklustre imitation of colonial architecture seen throughout the country. An eclectic combination of 17th-century buildings, Portuguese and colonial styles, high-rises and slums, the skyline of its largest city, Lagos, is expanding every day, as new areas under construction offer modern offices, housing and entertainment. While many of the Nigeria’s key players in architecture are working overseas for international firms, we have rounded up the names on home ground that you need to know about.
Here’s our list of the top five Nigerian architects right now.
Something of a child prodigy and all-round wonder woman, entrepreneur, radio host, writer and philanthropist, Olajumoke Adenowo was only 14 years old when she enrolled at the Obafemi Awolowo University (previously known by the wonderful name, the University of Life), graduating with a degree in architecture four years later, in 1988. Dubbed ‘Africa’s Starchitect’, Adenowo founded AD Consulting when she was 26. The company went on to work with brands such as Coca-Cola and L’Oréal, while exciting new projects include the geometric Abuja Film City and Lagos’s National Theatre. AD Consulting is renowned for providing a seminal holistic approach to architecture and interior design. We particularly like the fact that Adenowo is regarded as ‘the face of architecture’ in Nigeria – and that that face is female. Follow @jumokeadenowo[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
A partner at architecture firm Design Party, Baba Oladeji is interested in how architecture and politics work together, as illustrated in his futuristic project Fela Memorial Force HQ, which was exhibited at Freedom Park, a memorial and leisure area in downtown Lagos, in 2016. An eloquent writer, Oladeji rejects the stereotype, homely designs that residents are now accustomed to in Lagos and instead opts for a ‘hotel feel’, using aluminium panels and balconies. He is also a passionate proponent of valuing and respecting the unique urban history of Lagos, rather than importing design ideas from overseas that have little dialogue with the city’s history or existing aesthetic. Follow @babaoladeji
The co-founder of Chronos Studeos based in Lagos, Hassan Anifowose is a proud twin, gamer and red belt in taekwondo. Architecturally speaking, he is passionate about 3D visualization and enhancing the experience of architecture and design. His star project is at Eko Atlantic, a new coastal city that combines retail, office and residential spaces on the reclaimed land of Victoria Island adjacent to Lagos. Defined by its striking wavy design, his building with offices is part of the drive to solve the chronic shortage of real estate in the megacity and help cement the new area as the financial centre of Nigeria. Follow @hassoncortex
The principal partner at Homework Development, Jide Adekola has a penchant for modern and sustainable design, with a particular interest in green architecture. Adekola is determined to resolve the housing shortage in Nigeria through affordable mini estates of one, two and three bedroom apartments, which will be launching in 2018. Adekola has expressed his intentions to explore opportunities in other countries in West Africa, providing property that is within the financial reach of most people. Follow @jideadekola
Although Kunlé Adeyemi is not currently based in Nigeria, no ‘who’s who’ of Nigeria’s architectural movers and shakers would be complete without him. The architect, designer and urbanist has a track record of conceiving and completing high-profile, high-quality developments internationally. Adeyemi is committed to improving living conditions in rapidly growing cities in developing countries with alternative architectural design, and his star project, the Makoko Floating School, has put innovative architecture in Nigeria on the map. Providing access to education to children from the slums, the sustainable prototype floating structure was located on the Lagos Lagoon. Heavy rain damaged the building after it was no longer in use, but Adeyemi has come up with a new, improved version. This acclaimed initiative was part of the African Water Cities project, which analyses the impact of climate change and rapid urbanization on urban coastal areas. Follow @nleworks
Words by Sophie Breitsameter
Main image courtesy of Getty Images. Photography courtesy of @jumokeadenowo, @babaoladeji, @hassoncortex, @jideadekola, and @nleworks