Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam has inaugurated the ‘Water Cities Rotterdam. By Kunlé Adeyemi,’ a cultural project comprising of exhibitions along with several floating pontoons and artist installations that present the Nigerian-Dutch architect Kunlé Adeyemi’s waterfront designs in the Netherlands. The exhibition brings a seven-meter-high floating wooden pavilion on the institute’s outdoor ponds. Inside the pavilion, landscape architect and artist Thijs de Zeeuw has created an artwork to allow visitors to experience the pavilion from the perspective of nature while contemplating the consequences of building and living on the water for the surrounding ecology and biodiversity. The entire exhibition is on display at the Nieuwe Instituut until 22 October 2023.
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Kunlé Adeyemi's Water Cities Rotterdam Exhibition: A Testing Ground for Water-Related Design Solutions
As part of the ongoing research by NLÉ, African Water Cities is a vivid collection of essays, research, photographs and visions of African cities and communities by waterfronts evolving through two of the most significant trends of our time: rapid urbanization and a changing climate.
With its Lakefront Kiosk competition, the Chicago Architecture Biennial is hoping to leave a long-lasting impact and legacy for its city. The ROCK, a submission from NLÉ Architects in collaboration with School of the Art Institute of Chicago, is giving the public the opportunity to shape that legacy. Throughout the course of the event, which opened on October 3rd, eventgoers are invited to Millennium Park to add value to the 1930s limestone rocks that will create the pavilion through carving, painting, performances and other unimagined processes.
"We're not only invested in building on water. It's not about 'floating architecture,' that's really not what my practice is focused on. It's really the relationship between water and the city, between water and humans."
In this intriguing interview produced by Louisiana Channel, founder of NLÉ Architects Kunlé Adeyemi discusses the relationship of his work to water through projects such as Chicoco Radio, their proposal for the Chicago Lakefront Kiosk contest, and of course the Makoko Floating School project. Reflecting on the role of water in human settlement, Adeyemi explains how designing with in the context of water introduces both challenges and opportunities, adding that around the world he believes "we are just starting to brace ourselves and learn to live with water as opposed to fighting it."
"The architects of the future will begin to be seen more as agents of change,” Kunlé Adeyemi told us outside the 2014 Pritzker Prize Award ceremony in Amsterdam. One of the five international jury members for the 2014 Venice Biennale, Adeyemi is the founder of NLÉ, an architecture and urbanism practice focused on developing cities and known for projects like the Makoko Floating School in Lagos, Nigeria.
“There are many lessons learned from the floating school project, starting from engagement with the community…,” Adeyemi said. “The innovation of Makoko Floating School came not only from us, but largely from the community itself. We were simply agents to compose those ideas into a new form or an improvement of what’s already existing.”
Adeyemi was born and raised in Nigeria where he studied architecture at the University of Lagos. In 2002 he joined OMA where he worked closely with Rem Koolhaas for nearly a decade, playing an important role in OMA’s research on the urbanization of Lagos.
See what else Adeyemi had to say about the Makoko Floating School, what it’s like to lead an architecture firm and the role of architects in society in the full video above.
Kunlé Adeyemi, the 38 year-old former disciple of Rem Koolhaas, made headlines last year with his Makoko Floating School, which enabled better access to education a slum community in Lagos. In this profile of Adeyemi and his Practice NLÉ Architects, originally published by Metropolis Magazine, Avinash Rajagopal explores what drives the young architect, explaining why he was selected as one of 10 designers in Metropolis Magazine's 2014 New Talent list.
When the Makoko Floating School was completed in March 2013, it received wildly enthusiastic critical acclaim from the international news media. The simple A-frame structure, buoyed by recycled plastic barrels in a lagoon in Lagos, Nigeria, was designed by NLÉ, a Lagos- and Amsterdam-based studio founded by the architect Kunlé Adeyemi. The project, intended as a model for how Lagos’s floating community could build simple, sustainable structures for themselves, subsequently faced a few challenges. One of the biggest was winning over local officials, who simply did not know what to make of such a building.
Architects have always questioned what the cities of the future will look like. In the 1960s and 70s, one of the most prominent advocates of this field of "futurology" within architecture was historian and critic Michel Ragon. In an upcoming exhibition entitled City As A Vision, the FRAC Centre pays tribute to Ragon by presenting both historical and prospective urban concepts by architects throughout the last fifty years.
To celebrate the launch of ArchDaily Materials, our new product catalog, we've rounded up 10 awesome projects from around the world that were inspired by one material: wood. Check out the projects after the break...