- Worry Over Looming Population Crisis In State
By ‘Dotun Akintomide
For Lagos to live up to its billings as a 21 century smart city with an unimpeded ease of life, architectural professionals must adopt pluralism of styles to continue to regenerate daily, the city’s infrastructures, landscape and historical identities in tune with the reality of its ever ballooning demograhy.
This much, formed the propositions of egg-heads at the 4-day Lagos Architects Forum 2018 dubbed: ‘Architectural Regeneration 1: The Lagos Response.’
Addressing the forum on how psychology and sociology can influence architecture, Pharmacist and President of Ribbon Rouge Foundation, Ms. Morenike Olaosebikan, said: from the challenges of rural-urban migration to the migrant’s crisis as evident in the Mediterranean; as well as climate change effect, there is no better time in history for architects to collaborate with psychologists to help their sense of creation other than now.
“Architects can be a product of inclusion to address population crisis, equity and race issues through their works.” She stated.
Morenike, who observed that there is a weak link between African history and “the structures around us,” submitted that “architecture being the symbol of every civilization at all points in time,” it is essential for Nigerian architects to prioritize “local identity” in their designs.
For instance, she pointed out that the Freedom Park in downtown Lagos, which re-created the history of Her Majesty’s prison during the country’s colonial era is a project that typifies how architects in modern times can look into the aspects of the African heritage, culture, past and current challenges to duplicate nostalgic experience.
Demanding a proper preservation of Nigeria’s historic relics, Morenike lamented the collapse of the Benin wall reputed to be “the largest man-made structures in the world. It has become difficult to make a sense out of the remaining relic,” which currently lies in ruins.
Expressing similar thought, Arc. Tayo Babalakin challenged architects to embrace home grown solutions, ideas and materials that will address societal problems from the root, saying this will enable architects domesticate their work, hence, giving Nigerian architecture a unique identity.
High population — despite being one of biggest potentials that has fast-paced Lagos prosperity, experts worry that it has become the city’s major albatross in recent times, taking its toll on infrastructures and the already shrinking environment, a development that has led to the call for population control strategy to be adopted among residents.
“High growth of population is an issue and the rate at which we are catching up is slow, we need to slow down our population growth, and then look into how to re-strategize in line with infrastructural development and opportunities,” says Canadian based architect and business analyst, Roman Oseghale.
While calling on architects to conceptualize cutting edge ideas that would promote environmental sustainability and urban regeneration suitable for Lagos’ face-lifting, Oseghale posited that, rather than play catch-up, government should formulate policies and ideas targeted at checking the alarming rate at which the population is growing, cautioning that if not addressed, it may cause huge setbacks to plans by the state to achieve the status of a mega city.
In his view, another Canadian based Architect, Samuel Oboh, wants Lagos government to address the issue of population by impacting lives of the citizenry. He said government should consider sustainable effort in human capital development which will in-turn uplift the state’s economy and help in meeting the demand of its teeming populace.
The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, represented by Deputy Director, Lagos State Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, Arc. Remi Adebo lauded the impact and role the profession has been playing in the state, describing architects as the backbone of the construction sector.
He said the state government has been positioned towards environmental regeneration through several projects embarked upon by the state government, stating that the goal of the state government is to provide a sustainable environment towards attaining its target of becoming a mega city.
“Architectural regeneration is very relevant and in line with the government’s approach towards creating the mega city. Our plan for regeneration has led us into embarking on various project in and around the state including some laudable projects such as the Ilubirin residential scheme, Oworonshoki Mega Transport Hub, transformation of Epe, revitalization of Oshodi among others.
“The Lagos response is unique considering we have a city with its growing population on a steady rise every day. It’s our goal and vision to provide an environment sustainable and comparable to what’s obtainable around the world.
“I’m extremely glad and elated to see architects taking up the challenge and deliberating on solutions at this forum as I look forward to receiving feedback which we hope we’ll be able to implement for the good of our city.” Governor Ambode stated.
Earlier, the Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Architects, Lagos State Chapter, Arc. Fitzgerald Umah, said LAF 9.0 was a review of last year’s edition of the forum and effort towards an effective response and sustainability of ideas that were proposed.
“We have chosen to approach Architectural Regeneration from the perspective of growth in the architectural practice in Lagos state.
“Failure to respond and regenerate into a more resilient organism or organization can only result in systemic and eventual decay. This morbid reality could be dispelled by identifying the threats and neutralizing them.” He noted.
He said it’s imperative to attend to some growing concerns in the profession which he identified as the increased patronage of quacks; growing lack of awareness/appreciation of the profession; dwindling renumeration of staff in firms; and incursion of other professions in the traditional practice of architecture.
According to Umah, other challenges facing architectural practice include: “misconception from various quarters that our local architects cannot handle high-budget, modern or complicated structures; and the lack of succession or effective partnerships in firms.”
While making his closing remarks, Public Relations Officer, NIA Lagos, Arc. Abiodun Fatuyi enjoined stakeholders to explore all proffered ideas in working towards the continuous evolution of the profession.
“I look forward to the practical application of all ideas discussed to regenerate architectural practice in Lagos and beyond.” Fatuyi said.
Announcing the theme of next year’s forum — LAGOS 10.0 — as ‘Architectural Regeneration (2); The Lagos Renovation,’ Umah disclosed that LAF 2018 recorded over 2,000 delegates including robust students’ participation, more than the preceding editions.