Desktop version

Home arrow Sociology

  • Increase font
  • Decrease font

<<   CONTENTS   >>

Makoko Floating School, Nigeria (shortlisted 2014–2016)

Makoko is a slum community living in wooden buildings on stilts over the water of Lagos Lagoon in Nigeria, and canoes are the residents’ primary means of transportation. Climatically, Lagos has tropical wet and dry conditions and experiences two rainy seasons, with the heaviest rains falling from April to July and a less rainy season in October and November (Berlanda, 2016). Generally, the project is not a conventional response to a brief, but a statement of at least two intentions. Providing much-needed additional school space for the community’s children was one of these intentions. The second intention was to put Makoko on the map and to marshal resistance to the Nigerian government’s plan to evict the inhabitants of the settlements.

Conceptually, the ‘watercraft’ structure is intended to be self-sustaining and adaptable to a variety of building typologies, so gradually cultivating an improved quality of architecture, urbanism, and living on water. The Floating School is a small ‘watercraft’ that expands the facilities of the only school in Makoko, an informal settlement on the edges of the mainland of Lagos (Mostafavi, 2016). Like many other water communities, Makoko faces social and economic challenges of land tenure, lack of public services, and environmental challenges including inadequate responses to flooding and climate change (Riise and Adeyemi, 2015). Conceived as a replicable prototype, the Floating School offers an innovative response to these challenges, being simultaneously an educational facility and a space for community use.

The school is an А-shaped frame with exposed structure and a robust skeleton of wood and bamboo poles (Figure 4.13). There is no real ornamentation,

Makoko Floating School, Lagos, Nigeria, by NLE - Shaping the Architecture of Developing Cities/Kunle Adeyemi

Figure 4.13 Makoko Floating School, Lagos, Nigeria, by NLE - Shaping the Architecture of Developing Cities/Kunle Adeyemi

Source: © NLE Networks - available on Archnet apart from the elegance of its structural articulation and assembly. Though almost symmetrical along its longitudinal axis, the structure’s exterior treatment clearly identifies a weather side (towards the lagoon) and a lee side (towards the mainland), so continuing the analogy with a sailboat. The weather side is more closed, largely covered by roof sheeting, whereas the lee- side houses service spaces and the staircase that links the three levels - an open 100-square-metre space on the first level, 50 square metres for enclosed classrooms on the second level, and a 50-square-metre semi-enclosed multipurpose terrace on top (iMostafavi, 2016).

The 2.5 m x 2.5 m modularity of the square plan is repeated in the elevation, and the triangular profile of the whole is carried through the lateral bracings. The building is a 10 m x 10 m wide and 10 m tall А-shaped pyramid, with three levels. The first floor - essentially an open platform or deck - serves as a ... for the children as well as a communal space for fishermen to mend their nets and for people to gather and talk, their canoes moored to its sides. The main classroom space, which can be divided by three partitions as necessary, is on the second floor and cooled and shaded by timber louvres. The top floor incorporates PV cells to generate electricity (Glancey, 2014).

Kunle Adeyemi and NLfi architects initiated the project in May 2011, after being intrigued by the sheer existence of the settlement and visiting Makoko for the first time. The conceptual design phase was developed on a volunteer basis to meet one of the community’s most pressing needs, that of the expansion of its only school. NLfi’s vision led to the development of a prototype that could serve a larger “Lagos Water Communities Project,” a holistic urban development vision for water-based communities in Nigeria and elsewhere. In late 2011, with support of the Heinrich Boll Foundation, one of the most active NGOs in the areas, Kunle and his team developed the detail design scheme as a result of an intensive campaign.

<<   CONTENTS   >>

Related topics