Nigerian-born Kunlé Adeyemi, leader of Dutch practice NLÉ and member of the LafargeHolcim Awards jury has won the Silver Lion at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition. He was presented with the prize for promising young architects for his Makoko Floating School, which sets out to solve the issues of flooding and overcrowding in Nigeria’s waterside slums. Although there are no roads or infrastructure, the Makoko slum is home to almost 100,000 people who are completely adapted to an unconventional life on the water.
Designed by NLÉ Architects in 2013, this small-scale floating project in Lagos, Nigeria is an alternative building system that provides space for education and cultural programmes in Africa’s coastal regions. As a pilot project, it has taken an innovative approach to address the community’s social and physical needs in view of the impact of climate change and a rapidly urbanizing African context.
Often referred to as the “Venice of Africa”, the community was facing eviction by the government until Kunlé Adeyemi and his team collaborated with the local community to build the floating school. This led the authorities to reconsider their eviction plan. To solve this issue of flooding and other social and environmental challenges, the floating structure is a low-cost three-story A-frame, buoyed by 250 plastic barrels – which makes it movable and adaptable to changing tides and water levels. Makoko Floating School is designed to use renewable energy, recycle organic waste and harvest rainwater. The school received funding from the Lagos state government to install solar power and lighting to the waterfront in 2015.
Kunlé Adeyemi was winner of an Awards Acknowledgement prize in 2014 for Chicoco Radio: Community building designed for urban flooding. The floating media platform for waterfront slum communities, connecting land and water. The design is part of the “African Water Cities” project, which investigates the challenges and opportunities of rapid urbanization and climate change in African coastal cities.
The Makoko Floading School has been constructed at la Biennale di Venezia, and is located behind the Arsenale this year in Venice after floating down the Grand Canal. Kunlé Adeyemi is also a Professor at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Planning (GSAPP) at Columbia University (USA), and will be a member of the LafargeHolcim Awards jury for Middle East Africa in 2017. The 5th International LafargeHolcim Awards for Sustainable Construction with USD 2 million in prize money is most significant global competition for sustainable design. Entries open on July 4, 2016 at:See more
Chicoco Radio is a floating media platform that will be built with and for the residents of the waterfront slum communities of Port Harcourt in Nigeria. The structure is conceived as a linear public space connecting land and water. The design is part of the African Water Cities project, which investigates the challenges and opportunities at the intersection of rapid urbanization and climate change in African coastal cities.
A participatory venture using locally produced materials, Chicoco Radio will be the community’s voice and will include recording studios, a computer center, meeting rooms, cinema, and an amphitheater.
Architect Kunlé Adeyemi of NLÉ Works sets out to solve the issues of flooding and overcrowding in Nigeria's waterside slums. The video Rebel Architecture: Working on Water introduces his pioneering work in Nigeria with floating structures to address issues of flooding and land occupation. The documentary examines the situation of residents in the Makoko slum in the capital Lagos, and a floating radio station for a community NGO in the Chicoco slum in Port Harcourt.
The project to construct a floating radio station for a community NGO in Port Harcourt won a Holcim Awards Acknowledgement prize in 2014. Chicoco Radio: Community building designed for urban flooding aims to strengthen community engagement in decision making that would improve living conditions in the informal area rather than displace the current residents. Construction of the Chicoco Radio floating media platform is expected to begin soon.
NLÉ Works envisages a city of floating buildings that, safe from rising tides, would allow the residents of the neighborhood to remain within their community, while at the same time improving the quality of their lives. The studio came up with an easy-to-build, low-cost sustainable prototype for a floating building, one of which has already been constructed to support an overcrowded local school in Makoko.
Filmmaker: Riaan Hendricks, Production: Al Jazeera Media NetworkSee more
Main author of the “Chicoco Radio: Community building designed for urban flooding” project in Port Harcourt, Nigeria will present his recent work including the Holcim Awards Acknowledgement prize-winning project at the Vitra Design Museum, Germany on April 2, 2015. The presentation is part of a series of talks with African artists, designers, and film makers as part of the “Making Africa – A Continent of Contemporary Design” exhibition.
The talk (free entry) in English will be held on Thursday, April 2, 2015 at 18:00hrs at the Vitra Design Museum (Charles-Eames-Strasse 2, Weil am Rhein, Germany). Kunlé Adeyemi will present selected projects including the African Water Cities Project, which focuses on the development of Africa’s coastal regions in view of climate change and increasing urbanization. One of the most well-known projects is the much-publicised Makoko Floating School, a floating schoolhouse and community centre on Lagos Lagoon, as well as Chicoco Radio in Port Harcourt, which is currently under construction and earned him a Holcim Awards Acknowledgement prize for Africa Middle East in 2014.
Kunlé Adeyemi is 2014 Baird Distinguished Visiting Critic of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, USA, teaching and researching “Water and the City”. Previously he was the 2011 Callison Distinguished Visiting Lecturer of the University of Washington in Seattle, WA, USA, teaching and researching “The Modern City in the Age of Globalization”. His main area of academic interest is in developing cities of the global south. He has pursued and developed this issue via a number of research papers and study opportunities. His hypothesis “Urban Crawl” published in the Log Journal, is a critical exposé on architecture and urbanism in emerging megacities of the global south, which also unravels the complex urban conditions and operative mechanisms of such cities.
The exhibition “Making Africa” continues until September 13, 2015 and illustrates how design accompanies and fuels economic and political change. Africa is presented as a hub of experimentation generating new approaches and solutions of worldwide relevance – and as a driving force for a new discussion of the potential of design in the twenty-first century.See more
Kunlé Adeyemi of NLÉ Works sees “Chicoco Radio: Community building designed for urban flooding” as empowering the community to have a voice, and solving the issues of today without compromising the challenges of tomorrow. The project won a Holcim Awards Acknowledgement prize for strengthening local communities for the residents of the waterfront slums of Port Harcourt in Nigeria.
Kunlé Adeyemi of NLÉ Works, Nigeria received one of the five equally-ranked Acknowledgement prizes for Chicoco Radio, a floating media platform that will be built to strengthen local communities for the residents of the waterfront slums of Port Harcourt in Nigeria.Read more »
The jury acknowledges the project’s objective to establish linkages both locally and across the region. Architecture merges here with new media to become a platform for modern communication and participation – a civic tool to strengthen local and regional identity. Located at the threshold between land and water, the structure furthermore encapsulates the effects of climate change on coastal communities in Africa. The use of indigenous materials such as bamboo to create a media center offers the opportunity to create an architecture that goes beyond tradition, while respecting the past.
Chicoco Radio is a floating media platform that will be built with and for the residents of the waterfront slum communities of Port Harcourt in Nigeria. The structure is conceived as a linear public space connecting land and water. The design is part of the “African Water Cities” project, which investigates the challenges and opportunities at the intersection of rapid urbanization and climate change in African coastal cities. A participatory venture using locally produced materials, Chicoco Radio will be the community’s voice and will include recording studios, a computer center, meeting rooms, cinema, and an amphitheater.
Chicoco Radio is part of NLÉ’s African Water Cities project, which investigates the challenges and opportunities at the intersections of rapid urbanization and climate change in African coastal cities and waterfront communities. Following our first urban prototype Makoko Floating School, which has received significant international appreciation, Chicoco Radio is the second prototype of NLÉ’s ongoing urban project.
The simple yet innovative structure adheres to standards of sustainable development. It is designed to use renewable solar energy, to manage organic waste, and to harvest rainwater. The radio broadcast mast is an integrated architectural component raising the structure like a bridge: launching one end of the building into the water, suspending the other in the air, making it invulnerable to the increasing problems of urban flooding.
The concept and design development stages have been closely guided by the local communities: we have involved hundreds of residents in design workshops, focus groups and discussions, providing valuable insights to this solution, which carefully addresses their challenges and strongly reflects their collective aspirations. Chicoco Radio will be built, owned, operated, and maintained by the waterfront communities.
As a “bridge to transformation”, the amphibious nature of the building offers a reconnection between the communities’ life on land today, their historic past, and their potential lives on water in the future.
The building will be used not only as a radio station, but also for a variety of cultural, social, commercial, recreational, and educational activities. Local residents saw the water-based, cantilevered structure as unique in the region if not the entire country, and likely to inspire tourism and economic development as well as more positive opinions of the waterfronts. The project has had an educative impact on the local community introducing the element of design advocacy and seeks to illustrate the social and environmental value of public space. Furthermore, the community will be fully-equipped to replicate and further adapt the design of the building to best meet their own needs.
One of the most powerful outcomes of NLÉ’s projects is that they provide infrastructural solutions for sustainable urban development that could be replicated (not just by their forms, but their methodologies as well) within impoverished rural communities, yet adaptable for urban areas around the world.Download project poster 2014 (PDF, 3.79 MB) »See more
Chicoco Radio is a floating media platform for waterfront slum communities, connecting land and water. This …
Shatha Safi of Riwaq Center for Architectural Conservation (Palestine) and Yara Sharif of NG Architects and Palestine …
Kunlé Adeyemi of NLÉ Works sees “Chicoco Radio: Community building designed for urban flooding” as empowering the …
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