Rebel Architecture: Working on Water

MAKOKO – The penultimate episode of Rebel Architecture on Al-Jazeera English airs tonight and feature the work of the Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi as he tries to adapt and improve Makoko, a slum on the Lagos Lagoon.

Adeyemi is no stranger to global starchitecture. Having joined OMA in 2001, he was involved in seminal projects such as the Prada Transformer and Shenzhen Stock Exchange. In 2010, he took off to establish his own office, NLÉ – which means ‘at home’ in Yoruba, the language of Africa’s first truly urbanized population. ‘I am constantly inspired by solutions we discover in everyday life in the world’s developing cities,’ he says.

The documentary focuses on Adeyemi’s work in Makoko, a slum built on wooden stilts overlooking the Lagos Lagoon and his efforts in the slums of Port Haricourt. Although Makoko was founded as a fishing village in the 18th century, it now has a population of over 85,000. Rising sea level and stronger torrential rains mean that the settlement is under constant threat, whereas Port Harcourt waterfront is being eyed by real-estate developers.

Working against forced clearance and displacement of the slum’s residents, the architects at NLÉ have instead proposed to replace the urban tissue with floating structures. The first prototype, the Makoko Floating School, uses a series of barrels and an A-frame timber structure to create an educational space for 100 local children, and made worldwide headlines when it was photographed by Iwan Baan in 2013.

Rebel Architecture: Working on Water airs today at 22:30 GMT on Al Jazeera English and can be watched online via the Al-Jazeera Website.

Photos courtesy of Al-Jazeera

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