ecology architecture

Eyes on Africa - Lagos, Nigeria - Makoko Floating Schools

Makoko, Nigeria

Makoko is a fishing village located in the Lagos Lagoon. Due to the weakness of the nearby soil and its proximity to water, much of Makoko rests on structures constructed on stilts above Lagos Lagoon. Traditionally this area has been self governing so schools are funded and provided by the village. 

The ingenious adaptation of building a structure that floats came from growing concerns with climate change and rising water levels. This adds to its versatility not just from an environmental standpoint but from a political and practical standpoint as well. The area of Makoko is consider a poor area and one of the slums of the city. The necessity to create a school that is not only low cost and sustainable but that also mobilizes as needed to serve the children of the village is significant. Additionally recent land reclamation efforts and commercial developments in the area have reclaimed much of the lagoon from the residents of Makoko. Their homes on stilts must be deconstructed and reassembled elsewhere, while the school’s maneuverability eliminates this process.  

Built in 2013 with locally sourced wood and electrically powered with solar panels, the floating construct is designed to house about 100 students and even has a playground and green space. It is entirely sustainable due to the application of solar cells to the roof and incorporating a rainwater catchment system. The structure is also naturally ventilated and aerated. The barrels used to help the structure float are also used as water reservoirs from the catchment system. The floating schools are an ingenious design that serves the needs of the community in a cost effective and eco-friendly way.


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A team from the University of Cumbria have produced a floating house which can be transported worldwide to any lake or waterway. The designs are flexible, so it can be produced in varying sizes and according to different requirements. Completely self-sufficient, the house can be fitted with a solar-powered motor.

Original source: Dezeen Magazine

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Single Pole House by Konrad Wójcik, Denmark
‘The aim was to design a structure that would not have any footprint on the nature. Fully functional interior was intended for two people and if needed, in special occasions could be extended up to four. In order to provide as much as possible alternating threads stairs were implemented. This allowed fitting spacious interior into a compact and light from. Construction divides into 4 levels with a clear different functional program on each floor. This well equipped structure is a balance of comfortableness and practicality.’

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Vaulted house by vPPR architects is named after its huge ceiling vaults which funnel light into the home in the most dramatic way possible. Winner of a RIBA award, this house finds a creative solution to its inconvenient location.

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Casa El Maqui Protects Local Ecology

Architects- Gitc Arquitectura 
Location- just outside of Santiago, Chile
Source- designboom
Images- Felipe Díaz Contardo

The house is situated in a prime location without disturbing the surrounding landscape and even allows the opportunity to regenerate local flora and fauna.

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