Discovering Lagos Through Architecture



The mega city of Lagos is an enigma for different reasons. To some it’s the hustle and bustle of the city, for others it’s about the spirit of the people but to a selected few, it’s the significant element of the architecture that has been and continues to spring up. Enlightening the masses on the essence of architecture is the Open House Lagos initiative in collaboration with British Council which tells the story of the progressive growth of architecture in Lagos by exploring diverse historical buildings protected for years while unravelling contemporary designs.

This year, the exhibition is on from the 29th to the 30th of April, 2017 on a tour of 30 buildings showcasing the depth of architectural expression, aesthetic and functionality. Based on the theme of “A Resilient City: Lagos at 50” the exhibition offers six tours of buildings which show the essence of Lagos.


Green Response

How do we solve issues of environmental impacts of energy production, climate change, and social inclusion? The solution is the Makoko Hotspot in Yaba which was built in December 2015. It is a solar powered community-based infrastructure hub that serves as a community center with the aim to operate biogas-linked community toilets, produce cooking gas and solar freezer from mid-2017. This eco-friendly building is one of Nigeria’s most advanced development, employing the latest building principles and state-of-the-art finishes.

History of Resilience

The history of Lagos lives in many of its buildings from architectural sites that mimic historic Nigeria to contemporary buildings. In the midst of the rapid growth of this city, we are charged with not losing sight of the history moulded in bricks and iron. One of these buildings is located at 17, Federal Road, Railway Compound, Ebute Metta popularly known as Jaekel House, built in 1898 and named after late Francis Jaekel, a former superintendent of the Railway Corporation. The classic colonial architecture has been standing for over 100 years and has been restored by Professor John Godwin to the joint headquarters for Legacy and the Railway Museum to showcase photographic archive dating from 1940s through to 1970s of people, places and historical events in pre and post independent Nigeria.

Visual Resilience

Picturesque buildings with traditional and modern elements clearly evident is the design concept of the newly constructed Oakwood Residences located at 23 Cooper Road, Ikoyi, Lagos. The seven-floor twin tower residential development provides contemporary four bedroom apartments, five bedroom penthouses and will come with facilities such as fitness centre, swimming pool, service apartment, study, spa and standby generating set for uninterrupted power supply.



Resilience of the Arts

Lagos is art in motion, be it from roadside exhibitions of local artists to graffiti on public automobiles. Fusing the artsy element of Lagos is the contemporary art gallery Rele Gallery which is located at 5, Military Street, Onikan. The space offers art for public consumption, nurtures artists and gives them a platform to showcase their work. The gallery was designed by MOE+ Art Architecture using traditional wood burning techniques and maintains a minimalist interior.

The Renaissance

Creating an important link between buildings of the past and the future and their impact on the present are buildings that range from financial institutions to hotels that transcend you through cultural experiences while being in Lagos. Located at 1a Ozumba Mbadiwe Road Victoria Island is Radisson Blu Anchorage Hotel which was designed by Moyo Ogunseinde and famous Swedish hospitality designer, Christian Lundwall. The fusion of African and Swedish elements is visible in the building’s aesthetics and has unique features and structure that is welcoming both internally and externally.

Sacred Sites

In the midst of bustling Lagos, there are spaces that inspire the soul, engage the hearts and provide a sense of freedom. These locations give the option of meditating, praying or just enjoying the architectural richness of the space. Over time they have become architectural focal points that are fundamental to the city and are highlighted structures within each community.

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