Makoko is a cluster of communities living on water and thrives on fishing and sawing industries. The community is built on stilts structures, highly dense, over 100,000 people, in the lagoon heart of Lagos, Nigeria yet it has almost no road, no land and no modern infrastructure.
After visiting this area architect Adeyemi, the founder of NLE was inspired by the environment and the way of living and building of Makoko. He volunteered to work with the community to meet one of their needs-the expansion of nursery and primary school built on reclaimed land. The relationship resulted in a holistic, innovative architectural solution as well as a wider urban vision that address the challenges of urbanisation, climate change, energy, waste, water and food facing many African coastal regions.
The prototype solution addresses physical and social needs in the view of the growing challenges of climate change and an urbanizing African context. It is a movable 'building' or 'watercraft' currently located in the aquatic community of Makoko. It is a floating structure that adapts to the tidal changes and varying water levels, making it invulnerable to flooding and storm surges. It is designed to use renewable energy, to recycle organic waste and to harvest rainwater. The structure serves primarily as a school, whilst being scalable and adaptable for other uses, such as a community hub, health clinic, market, entertainment centre or housing. The prototype’s versatile structure is a safe and economical floating triangular frame that allows flexibility for customization and completion based on specific needs and capacities.
The 220m A-frame or pyramid building is 10m high with a 10m x 10m base. It is an ideal shape for a floating object on water due to its relatively low centre of gravity, which provides stability and balance even in heavy winds. It also has a total capacity to safely support a hundred adults, even in extreme weather conditions.
The building has three levels. The 1st level is an open play area for school breaks and assembly, which also serves as a community space during afterhours. The 2nd level is an enclosed space for two to four classrooms, providing enough space for sixty to a hundred pupils. A staircase on the side connects the open play area, the classrooms and a semi enclosed workshop space on the 3rd level.
The simple yet innovative structure adheres to ideal standards of sustainable development with its inclusive technologies for renewable energy, waste reduction, water and sewage treatment as well as the promotion of low-carbon transport. Furthermore it was constructed using eco-friendly, locally sourced bamboo and wood procured from a local sawmill.
The project was initiated, designed and built by NLÉ in collaboration with the Makoko Waterfront Community, in Lagos State. The project was initially self-funded by NLÉ and later received research funds from Heinrich Boll Stiftung as well as funds for its construction from the UNDP/Federal Ministry of Environment Africa Adaptation Programme (AAP).
NLÉ is an Architecture, Design and Urbanism practice focused on developing cities. Founded in 2010 by Nigerian-born architect, Kunlé Adeyemi, it currently runs its operations from Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Lagos, Nigeria