Watch: Nigerian Architect Kunlé Adeyemi’s “Floating School” in Makoko Highlighted in Al Jazeera Documentary.
Two years ago, this pioneering school in Lagos’s ‘floating’ slum of Makoko was deemed ‘illegal’ by local authorities who then threatened to demolish it. This year, the brainchild of Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi has been nominated as Design of the Year by London’s Design Museum.
Adeyemi’s innovative design was developed through a collaborative effort initiated between himself and those living in Makoko. After several discussions with Makoko residents on the ways in which issues surrouding education and the resolvement of the environmental issues that concerned the local community, Adeymei’s “floating school” was born. His design also came about during a time where the Lagos government had been threatening to evict Makoko residents and demolish the slum. Through his efforts, Adeyemi managed to not only successfully draw attention to issues surrounding life in Makoko, he did so in a way that gave Makoko residents a platform in which to regain their agency - all whilst contribute something of value to the community.
“There are hundreds if not thousands of Makokos all over Africa,” Adeyemi says. “We cannot simply displace this population; it’s important to think about how to develop them, how to create enabling environments for them to thrive, to improve the sanitation conditions, to provide the infrastructure, schools and hospitals to make it a healthy place.
“My belief is that in developing Africa we need to find solutions that can be developed by the grassroots, through the grassroots, and achieve the same level of significance as we have on the high-end projects.”
In this documentary project by Al Jazeera that looks at unconventional pioneers in the architecture industry, Adeyemi’s floating school is brought to life in the Working On Water episode directed by award-winning South African filmmaker Riaan Hendricks. The episode forms part of the network’s Rebel Architecture series.
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