Nigerian Architecture

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The Making of Abijo Mosque: An Architectural Journey

The recently released “Abijo Mosque Documentary” explores the journey of designing and building the Abijo Mosque in Lagos, Nigeria. The documentary provides a detailed narrative of the design process and the cultural context around the new structure. Designed by Patrickwaheed Design Consultancy (PWDC), the mosque is a testament to the integration of traditional materials and contemporary architecture. The Abijo Mosque design also helps “build the case for a Nigerian architectural language.”

The 4th Lagos Biennial: Exploring the Spatial and Socio-Political Implications of Refuge

On the 3rd of February, this year's Lagos Biennial opened at the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos, an emblematic venue that was once the site of Nigerian independence celebrations in 1960. As the 4th edition of the art fair, it continues with its objective of using art to activate historic landmarks that have lost significance either through functional use or symbolic meaning to the residents of the former capital city.

Lessons from Relocating and Building New Capital Cities in the Global South

The relocation of a capital city is a complex urban decision with various dimensions and consequences for both the old and new capital. It can be driven by political, economic, societal, and other factors, and has urban and architectural implications for residents. These include factors such as location, planning, building design, the purpose of the old capital, climatic conditions, and separating the political/administrative hubs from cultural and economic cities.

Defining Afro-Contemporary Homes: The Role of Case Study Houses

The home is a fundamental expression of architectural movements within the fabric of a city. As one of the smallest typologies, it is the simplest canvas to exhibit the design ethos of any particular era. African cities have continuously negotiated the meaning of their residential dwellings, from traditional architecture to colonial architecture, and the influx of post-colonial modern architecture. Vernacular architecture explored homes with spatial patterns rooted in cultural dexterity, envelopes built with indigenous materials and forms, endowed with traditional motifs. These were in stark contrast to colonial homes that featured a range of imported architectural styles across the continent, neglecting their climatic and cultural contexts while amplifying social class.

A Reimagined Monument in Germany and a Scent Installation in the Netherlands: 9 Unbuilt Pavilions Submitted by the ArchDaily Community

Whether temporary or permanent, pavilions and urban installations represent an opportunity for architects to experiment with different shapes, materials, and textures. The results are often theatrical, welcoming visitors to new types of spaces, and blending the exterior and the interior. Pavilions are often commissioned for events, exhibitions, or cultural programs, offering opportunities to explore innovative materials, construction techniques, and spatial concepts on a smaller scale. Some events, like the Serpentine in UK or the MPavilion in Australia, propose a yearly reimagining of their structures, offering opportunities for established and emerging architects to express themselves. Others, like the Venice Biennale, reuse the permanent garden pavilions, but invite curators to prepare exhibitions to reimagine them for every edition.

Incremental Iconation: A Path for Developing Monumental Buildings in the Global South

Buildings that are designed to layer stories and memories, evoke a sense of aspiration, define cultural narratives, and build a national identity will always be important in all societies. When buildings have this power to shape communities, make an impact on a city’s image, and change the course of socio-economic growth, then they can be identified as iconic. Though the term “iconic” is subjective, it is one that pushes the boundaries of architecture in any context. It calls for spatial originality, proposes innovative material technology, and necessitates a radical socio-economic investment to be realized.

Rethinking the Roles of Small-Scale Informal Wood Industries in Tropical Africa

Tropical Africa boasts vast forests that cover 3.6 million square kilometers of land in West, East, and Central Africa. These forests provide valuable timber resources that significantly impact sectors, such as the furniture, fuel, and paper industries. However, interestingly, timber is seemingly absent in the contemporary architecture of the countries in this region. While architectural taste plays a role, the main reasons for this absence can be attributed to the wood industries' inability to meet the requirements of availability, affordability, aesthetic appeal, durability, and climatic and structural performance of timber. The wood industry in tropical Africa is mainly composed of informal and small-scale operations, focused primarily on sawing logs rather than refining wood for architectural or structural purposes. Despite this, the large number of informal enterprises in the region presents an opportunity to reshape the wood industry and utilize the local forestry resources to construct timber buildings.

Places of Protest in Africa: Public Spaces for Engaging & Fostering Democracy

Protest has always been a powerful tool for creating change, and public spaces provide a platform for social engagement in societies. As part of the International Day of Democracy, we examine Africa, its series of emerging protests in the past year, and how citizens in various countries question political justice, demand better living standards from their government, and interrogate their nation’s sovereignty. With demonstrations ranging from organized large-scale marches to smaller spontaneous outbursts, residents of these countries have explored public spaces in symbolic and significant ways to amplify their voices. These spaces include public squares with cultural and historical meaning, sites of political buildings, or makeshift protest areas such as roads and open areas. Through this, African cities show how people make these spaces their own and how the power of their conglomeration cannot be ignored in unwrapping the democratic essence of public spaces.

Motifs and Ornamentations: Inspirations Behind the Colors of African Traditional Architecture

African societies' cultures are intrinsically linked to color. From fabrics to clothing, products, sculptures, and architecture, various societies explore rich and vibrant colors that are vivid, expressive, and joyful. Through different shades, hues, contrasts, motifs, and ornamentations, colors are embraced as an unspoken language, a palette for storytelling, and a sense of cultural identity. Although the use of color in African societies may seem decorative on the surface, it is extremely symbolic, with a deep sense of history behind it. Traditional African architecture is a prime example. Ethnic societies have endowed their homes with color through ornaments and motifs, expressed it with religious and cultural patterns, employed it on facades to tell familial stories, and created labyrinths of communal architecture that not only celebrate color but explore its ethnic meaning.

Exploring Local Material in Contemporary Architecture: PWDC Transforms Building Surfaces in Nigeria

In Lagos, a city with a complex urban fabric that includes historical buildings and vast interpretations of contemporary architecture, lies PatrickWaheed Design Consulting (PWDC). This design practice, Co-led by Adeyemo Shokunbi, aims to contribute to a Nigerian architectural language through the renaissance of local materials. Through explorations anchored in local laterite, they have developed the material as a modern finishing technique, investigated its potential as a natural dye, discovered new ways to employ its thermal properties, and now build the research prospect of other local materials. I had the opportunity to speak with Architect Shokunbi, who discussed the initial inspirations and investigations during the construction of two building projects (Mad House & Abijo Mosque) in Lagos. These projects brought the Laterite finishing technique to life and now help build the case for a Nigerian architectural language.