Makoko floating school by Kunle Adeyemi, a building prototype for coastal regions of Africa that have little permanent infrastructure because of unpredictable flooding. (at Venice Biennale, Giardini-Arsenale)

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Cristina De Middel: This is What Hatred Did (Nigeria)

This is epically beautiful work. See the complete series here.  Also the author of the brilliant Afronaughts series. 

Project Description by Artist:

In the sixities a 5 year old Nigerian kid´s village was attacked by soldiers. His mother had left him home alone and he had to run away   escaping the bombs and the fire. He saved his life entering the Bush, this magical territory where no humans are allowed and where all the Yoruba spirits live and fight. Our kid spent  30 years lost in the Bush trying to find his way back home  amongst the spirits and the dead. He got married two times, became a king, a god and a slave, a cow,  a jar, a horse, a goat, ate gold, silver and bronze, snakes and snails, he fought 2 wars and was sentenced to death half a dozen times… all that  in just 100 pages. Amos Tutuola wrote “ My life in the bush of ghosts” in 1964 and then had to leave the country to escape the violent reactions to a book that would open in the exilium, a new path for contemporary African narrative. The story is told by the 5 year old kid in a very basic, direct, naive and repetitive style that only children master, but manages to convey the magical and absurd reality that war and religion added to the Nigerian reality. The series  “ This is what hatred did” (Mysterious last sentence of the book) aims to provide an illustrated contemporary version of this story adapting the characters, the space and the ambient to the actual situation of the country. The Bush is  now the Lagosian neighborhood of Makoko, a floating slum with its own rules, commanded by Kings and community leaders. A place where no logic seems to prevail and that is equally forbidden for those who do not belong. With the conviction that contemporary issues should be described in a way that includes the agent´s traditions, perspectivas, fears and hopes, this series documents the enhanced reality of one of the most iconic places in Nigeria according to the always dramatic media.


Iwan Baan

Makoko Floating School - Lagos, Nigeria

by NLE, Kunle Adeyemi

Makoko Floating School is a prototype floating structure, built for the historic water community of Makoko, located on the lagoon heart of Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos. 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. Its main aim is to generate a sustainable, ecological, alternative building system and urban water culture for the teeming population of Africa’s coastal regions. 

See also: New York Times: School at Sea - Michael Kimmelman 
And Abitare, May 2013: The floating school of Mak

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.


Makoko Floating School - Makoko, Nigeria

Every school day, close to 100 Nigerian children from the coastal city of Lagos head off in boats to a most unusual schoolhouse on the water.

The 3-storey, A-frame structure bobs on the waves of the lagoon that lines the waterfront slum of Makoko. A severely overcrowded water community that already hosts a stilted fishing village with a population in the tens of thousands, Makoko was an ideal location to test out this eco-friendly architectural model.

Designed by NLE Architects, the  Makoko Floating School is part of a “pilot project” that will unfold in a total of three phases, the school’s completion in 2014 marking the completion of phase one. The project is an attempt to tackle both Makoko’s specific needs and the urgency to provide sustainable living solutions as climate change continues to directly affect coastal communities at large. The goal? To create alternative, green building systems that can support rapid urbanization and adapt to climate-induced issues that could affect infrastructure. 

Already nominated for the Designs of the Year 2014 by the Design Museum in London, Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi’s floating school seems like a very promising option. The A-frame structure sits atop 256 recycled plastic barrels, and is made mostly of wood and local materials. Its triangular shape allows for several levels, its low center of gravity providing stability even in high winds.

For even more on the Makoko Floating School, keep reading on Atlas Obscura!

Makoko, a floating slum in Nigeria

The shanty town of Makoko is located on a lagoon on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, a stone’s throw from the modern buildings that make up Lagos, the biggest town in Nigeria and the main commercial and industrial center. In this sprawling slum on the waterfront, adjacent to the 10 km long Third Mainland Bridge, tens of thousands of people live in rickety wood houses raised on slits. There are no official census records, but estimates suggest some 150,000 to 250,000 people live here.


Life in Soggy Treasures

Here’s a photograph of a boy in Makoko. This is probably the most exploited slum in Nigeria and contrary to what most people believe, they’re really lively and happy people. The major occupation here is fish processing - By Longe Olubusayo

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Dedicated to the Cultural Preservation of the African Aesthetic


Day 11 of 14: Makoko. Lagos, Nigeria.
Makoko is a slum neighborhood in Lagos, with a population nearing 100,000. Established in the 18th century primarily as a fishing village, much of Makoko rests in structures constructed on stilts above the Lagos Lagoon. Makoko is essentially self-governing with a very limited government presence in the community and local security being provided by area boys.

Today the area is being threatened by local government who has already begun forcibly removing the population by demolishing homes without warning, claiming it is a sore eye to foreign visitors crossing the third mainland bridge. Others suspect the government wants to build residential properties for the upper class. The authorities also claim they have no responsibility to relocate the population since they are there without permission in the first place.

©2011 Carlos Cazalis/All Rights Reserved. October 21, 2011. Lagos, Nigeria.


This Is What Hatred Did  is a modern-day photographic depiction by Cristina de Middel of Nigerian writer Amos Tutuola’s novel, “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts”.  Published in 1954, the novel tells the story of a five-year-old Nigerian boy who takes refuge in the bush after fleeing slave traders.

The spirit-infested bush is now Makoko, a floating slum in Lagos recently brought to global attention by forced removals and by architect Kunlé Adeyemi’s innovative design for a floating school