The Makoko floating school in Lagos, Nigeria this year receives global recognition for its design and architectural structure.
The school founded and designed by Kunle Adeyem, the school was shortlisted in the Aga Khan Award for Architecture event recently held in Dubai.
The Makoko floating school comprises alternative sustainable buildings and structures designed to adapt to the resident communities’ aquatic lifestyle, housing 100 children.
However, in July the structure collapsed after heavy rains pounded the city.
“This settlement was already in a way dealing with these issues although through very poor conditions. But they were already adapting to these issues that I feel are some of the most important challenges of our time,” said Adeyem.
When he set about building the school, Adeyem was well aware the state government would show resistance to it, given the unplanned nature of the community.
Unskilled local workers were hired to build the structure, with the idea that they could then go out and build their own homes with the techniques learned while erecting the school.
Leslie Lokko, an associate professor of architecture at the University of Johannesburg, was among the panel of judges.
She said African architectural space offers a rich resource of dynamism and creative works that often go unnoticed such as the floating school.
“This is a world that is equal to all other worlds. It is not a world that exists somewhere else in a more deprived state. This is absolutely cutting edge. It is as modern as anywhere else and it has a kind of intellectual and cultural prominence which I think gives a lot of confidence to people who are always seen as somehow outside the loop,” said Lokko.
The Casa-Pory in the city of the Casablanca, Morocco; a major transport up was also competing in the contest.
Guelmin School of technology in Guelmin, a remote part of Morocco was also shortlisted. It is an education complex based on classic Berber designs associated with the community living in northern Africa.
However none of these and other three selected African projects made it to the the list of winners.
The award was started in 1977 by his highness the Aga Khan to encourage building concepts that address needs and aspirations of communities, in which Muslims have a significant presence.