Lagos Regeneration: Ambode Lauds Architects, Calls For More Commitment

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To keep delivering on Lagos regenerational plans, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has described architectural professionals as key partners that could help fastrack the much needed housing solutions and resilience for millions of Lagos dwellers.

Ambode who spoke at the 11th edition of the Lagos Architect Forum (LAF 10.0), lauded the Nigerian Institute of Architect (NIA), Lagos Chapter for its immense contributions to the changing face of Lagos over the decades.

Represented by Gbolahan Lawal, the Lagos State Commissioner for Housing, Ambode stated that Lagos State will continue to play the role of an enabler to spur on more architects and allied professionals as well as other stakeholders in the private sector to create a more compact city.

Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Architects, Lagos State, Fitzgerald Umah (middle) with Lagos State Commissioner for Housing, Gbolahan Lawal (right) while inspecting exhibition stands at the Lagos Architect Forum, 2019

“Architectural regeneration is of a particular interest to the state government because in the last four years this government has worked to regenerate Lagos and we’re eagerly awaiting the communique that will be issued by this forum.”

While calling on architects to adapt more pro-climate action housing solutions and energy efficiency measures to their works, Ambode said “the housing ministry has worked on many social housing projects to further cut down the housing deficit in the state.”

Speaking on the menace of building collapse in Lagos, following the Ita-Faji incident, the governor said that the state is currently looking at the report submitted to it by the NIA Lagos Chapter, promising that a white paper will soon be released to forestall such occurrence in the future.

Earlier, the Chairman of the NIA Lagos Chapter, Fitzgerald Umah in his speech had said the Lagos Architect Forum has helped to identify problems of building collapse in the state and have provided a policy document — Architects Intervention Program — which will curb the menace from becoming a recurring decimal should the government go ahead to fully implement it.

Similarly, President, Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON), Ajayi Dapo, asked the Lagos State government to speedily effect a comprehensive urban renewal of the state.

Dapo said that most parts of Lagos metropolis have been overdue for renewal, particularly the Lagos Island area of the state where the Ita-Faji collapse was recorded.

Listing some of the contributions made by LAF since inception to strengthen architectural practices and stimulate the construction industry, Chairman NIA, Lagos, Umah said “LAF has made efforts in creating platforms for a strong architectural practices and partnerships in a growing economy that will outlive the founders. It has critically looked at the incursion of other professionals into the traditional practice of architecture with solutions proferred for decisive actions.”

Umah added that LAF has helped to expose new technology and innovative materials to practitioners in the Nigeria’s construction industry.

One of the highlights of the 2019 forum was the unveiling of several affordable housing concepts discovered through a competition dubbed ‘Affordable Home Design’ sponsored by Sterling Alternative Finance. The winning designs were selected from several entries made by students of architecture and associate Architects in Lagos.

According to Umah, the goal of the competition is to identify designs that can create an utopian community that desires a modern efficient, very affordable, middle income housing inspired by the African culture of co-existence and communal living with empathy on the natural environment.

To ensure more affordable housing come on stream in the country, the Executive Director, Sterling Bank, Yemi Odubiyi said it is important for the money and capital markets to come up with more alternative financing solutions to finance cutting edge ideas, solutions and techniques developed by architects and all the professionals working in the built environment.

“Following the collapse in the global oil prices, the property prices had crashed over the years, but the affordable property prices have not been badly affected, but the challenge has been at the supply end of the affordable homes,” Odubiyi said, stating that alternative financing will help deliver more affordable homes to the broader property market in the country.

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