• Tolulope Sanusi

Unbuilt Nigeria - 8 Awesome Architectural Designs

From the city on water; Lagos to the rocky hills of central Abuja, take a virtual trip through eight architecture projects that never got off the drawing board and at the end we have 2 bonus projects that got built but are not as conceived - an all too familiar scenario for most designs in Nigeria.

1) Jabi Lake Masterplan Proposal / Studio Seilern Architects

Studio Seilern Architects were commissioned design for a 31 hectare waterfront masterplan for Duval Properties Ltd in Abuja, Nigeria. Situated on Jabi Lake, the project aims to create a new destination for the city; a place to live, work, shop, be entertained and above all, to enjoy. With the loose arrangement of these building clusters, this results in the possibility of a flexible plan that generates multiple aspect residential units.

Jabi Lake Masterplan Proposal
Jabi Lake Masterplan Proposal. Images courtesy of Studio Seilern Architects

The creation of a waterfront park varies in size and activities according to the functions it fronts. Rather than a waterfront promenade, the waterfront park aims to create a truly vibrant public space by including specific activities and happenings through its length. With a double frontage concept, there are two distinct frontages: the road-front and the water- front. Each influences the form making of the buildings. The placement and scale of the buildings will create the identity of each and how it relates to the wider context. The residential meets the waterfront creating a vibrant space. Residential and waterfront merge together, having a dialogue with each other.

Architects: Studio Seilern Architects

Location: Abuja, Nigeria

Engineers: Buro Happold

Landscape Designers: Hyland Edgar Driver

Cost Consultants: Currie & Brown

Consultants: IDQ Security, Pixel Enlargment

Collaborators: SSA team: Christina Seilern, Luis Monteiro, Ivan Lazzaroni, Giacomo Manfredi, Povilas Jurevicius, Angela Santos, Alicia Castellote, Sergio Vale

Year: 2012

2) Ramzi Towers, Lagos / SPARK Architects

The landmark scheme, designed from SPARK’s London studio, was SPARK’s first significant project in Africa and was scheduled for 2014, with Construction beginning the following summer.

Each of the twenty two 3-bed, 4-bed and penthouse apartments is orientated to maximise daylight. The tower’s distinctive curved shells and striking, deep window reveals, provide shading from the heat of the direct sun.

Ramzi Towers, Lagos
Ramzi Towers, Lagos by SPARK Architects

SPARK has designed a uniquely African solution which responds to local climatic, social, financial and cultural drivers. Ramzi Towers’ sprayed concrete curved shells provide structure, water-proofing, air-tightness, fire protection and solar protection in a single solution, while being sculpted to minimise wind resistance and to provide a curvaceous African response to the global vernacular.

Architecture: Spark Architects

Project Director: Max Titchmarsh

Team: Arnold Von Storp, Frankie Pringle, Ashley Gilbert

Client: Athena Capital Ltd

Engineering: Battle McCarthy

QS/PM: WT Partnership

Main Contractor: Deux Projects

Total GFA: 9,015 sqm

Year: 2014

3) Corinthia Abuja / WATG Architects

Description from Architects - Exclusivity and luxury defined by a fresh and contemporary design create a private international retreat for great minds to meet.

Corinthia Hotel Abuja
Corinthia Hotel Abuja. Images courtesy of WATG Architects.

With iconic design that stands out on the evolving skyline of Abuja, the dynamic roof canopy serves as both a strong visual feature and provides shade to the dining terrace. Unobstructed views abound in the compelling design that is timeless and ensures longevity.

Arrival sets the tone with plenty of light to illuminate a space that is opulent while modern, subtly incorporating local culture alongside contemporary art and sculpture. An imposing and grand staircase creates grandeur and anchors the lobby.

Architecture: WATG Architects

Location: Abuja, Nigeria

Size: 22,797 square meter site, 148-key, Seven floors

Services: Architecture, Wimberly Interior

4) Lagos Wooden Tower / Hermann Kamte & Associates

Lagos's Wooden Tower is a conceptual residential tall timber in Lagos (Nigeria) and "The first Wooden Skyscraper proposed in Africa.” As a Winner of the Inaugural WAFX Prize (Cultural Identity), it was revealed among the World's most Forward-Looking Concepts at the World Architecture Festival 2017. The proposed research is focused on vertical city, housing crisis and Cultural Heritage. The envelope highlights Yoruba culture with their massive presence in the heart of Lagos. Inspiration comes from the history of Yoruba.

Lagos Wooden Tower
Lagos Wooden Tower. Images courtesy of Hermann Kamte & Associates

Lagos is the most populated city in Africa, it consists of 16 million inhabitants. Situated in the heart of Ikoyi, the most popular and the richest residential site of Nigeria, The tower is a unique wooden structure. Wood is Marketable, serviceable, biodegradable, affordable, sustainable and ecological. The studied technology is an entire wooden skeleton with the Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) system for load-bearing and a non-load bearing structure.

The whole is oriented to maximise daylight and natural ventilation. The wooden envelope provides shading from the heat of the direct sun around the shape. Plants belt around each floor contribute to creating fresh air flow and keep a constant microclimate into living space while providing a visual comfort and aesthetic.

Architecture: Hermann Kamte & Associates

Location: Lagos, Nigeria

Year: 2017

5) Nigerian Cultural Centre and Millennium Tower / Studio Nicoletti Associati

The Complex will be home to the Nigeria Cultural center and the National Square where the Municipal Building and the Millennium Tower will be located. As the flag ship structure, the Millennium Tower which is expected to be the tallest building in Nigeria, standing at 170m, symbolising the unity and strength of the Nigerian State.

The Cultural Centre and the Millennium Tower of Nigeria. Images courtesy of Studio Nicoletti Associati

The tower, which rises above an underground car park for 1100 cars, is intended to dominate the skyline of Abuja with powerful laser spotlights shooting rays that can be seen more than 50km from the city centre.

The Cultural Centre and the Millennium Tower of Nigeria, together with the National Square will make up a harmonious complex which will improve the quality of the City of Abuja. It is an ambitious proposal that extends two adjoining plots in the cultural, religious and administrative heart of the city. It is a refreshing approach that is in direct opposition to the traditional architecture linked with the colonial idioms, even though the Nigerian tradition inspires the design.

Architects: Studio Nicoletti Associati

Location: Abuja, Nigeria

Project Team: Principals: Manfredi Nicoletti and Luca Nicoletti

In Team: A. Della Morgia and F. Pagliano TajaniInterior

Décor: Studio Nicoletti Associati

Project Year: 2006

Photographer: Studio Nicoletti Associati

Contractors: Salini Nigeria Ltd

Structural Design: M. Salabè, A. Rossi – Ingegneri Associati, Roma

Project Size: Site Area - 80,000 sq m Built Up Area – 85,000 sq m

6) Abuja Centenary City / AS+P Architects

The Government of the Republic of Nigeria is planning a new city with a self-sustaining sub center in Nigeria's Federal Capital Territory, called ‘Centenary City'. A site of approx. 13 km², located in close proximity to the inter­national airport and only 25 km away from Abuja's CBD.

Abuja Centenary City.
Abuja Centenary City. Images courtesy of AS+P Architects

The proposed city will not only serve about 200,000 people - residents, employees and visitors alike, but also combine sustainable urban design principles with progressive land uses resulting in an urban form that respects its surrounding natural landscape and is socially and economically viable. Furthermore, Centenary City shall be awarded a special tax status, which will support its role as the new financial center of Nigeria.

Architects: AS+P

Client: The Federal Republic of Nigeria

Location: Abuja, Nigeria

Project Year: 2014

7) Bloomsbury Waterfront / NLE Architects

The Bloomsbury Waterfront is a unique office development situated in the distinguished Walter Carrington Crescent of Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria.

The project is a premium office space that maximises the great views across the city’s waterfront. It meets contemporary environmental efficiency standards incorporating renewable energy and sustainable building systems, with state of the art access control and security systems.

Bloomsbury Waterfront
Bloomsbury Waterfront. Images coutesy of NLE Architects

The building’s form, orientation and structural facade are designed for optimum solar shading, panoramic waterfront views, efficient office space and flexibility of tenancy. The building is suspended off the ground to minimise its footprint, making space for adequate parking and landscaping. The building features a lush sky garden with panoramic views over Victoria Island and Ikoyi, Lagos.

Client: Dreamspaces Development

Program: Office Building

Status: Concept Design

Team: Kunlé Adeyemi, Farooq Adenugba, Marco Cestarolli, Martin Oreoluwa, Berend Strijland, Olina Terzi

Consultants: BattleMccarthy, WT Partnership

Year: 2013

8) Abuja International Conference Center / Design Group Nig. Ltd

The International Convention Center was conceived to deliver a world class Convention center that will be one of the top three in the world.

Abuja International Conference Center
Abuja International Conference Center. Images coutsey of Design Group Nig. Ltd

The Convention Center is a state-of-art facility that meets international convention standards for events like the World Bank/IMF meetings and other Regional meetings involving nation-states and multilateral organizations.

With a design that portrays an international iconic status for Abuja and Nigeria, it consists of a convention center, exhibition facility, and a Twin hotel (5-star and 3-star).

Architects: Design Group Nig Ltd

Client: Central Bank of Nigeria

Contractor: ITB

Location: Abuja, Nigeria

Project Year: 2015

Bonus Projects: The Nigerian Facror

There's something called the Nigerian factor in the aspect of Architecture. It's simply a term used to describe the gap between Design Concept and the completed Project. In other climes the gap is mostly negligible but in Nigeria it can be as vast as Day & Night.

9) CDL Microfinance Company / NLE Architects

Situated in Ikeja district of Lagos in Nigeria, the new headquarters for CDL consolidates its various facilities into a single building that redefines the conventional notion of a bank building as a closed and private institution, by creating a more approachable, open and civic space to meet the needs of its customers – the everyday people.

The specific tropical climate of Lagos suggests an alternative approach to designing a building with distinct private and public functions. A conditioned volume containing the most public functions – efficiently enclosed and protected to reduce heat gain – is suspended above the ground floor comprising an auditorium, entrance lobby and service block. The top floors with more private function have a transparent envelope which increases the opportunity of views and natural ventilation. The envelope is protected by a generous folded roof plate that also harvests rainwater.

As seen from the above render, the design called for an open atrium with visible connection to the exterior via open ground floor design. Subtle changes have been made to the roof design and facade while the open, welcoming ground floor plan has been scraped.

CLIENT: Credit Direct Limited.

PROGRAM: Office Headquarters

STATUS: Under Construction (NLÉ involved only to 70% completion. Significant alterations to design have been made by client since)

TEAM: Kunlé Adeyemi, Farooq Adenugba, Marco Cestarolli, Annalisa Moser, Bethan Nelson, Laura Rokaite, Berend Strijland, Olina Terzi

CONSULTANTS: MOE+, Consultants Collaborative Partnership, Pinconsult Engineers, Folmak


Situated in Mushin, Lagos, it's a two-phase retail development. The initial phase utilities existing industrial warehouse structures to accommodate the anchor tenant. A lightweight canopy structure with patterned translucent panels ties the two phases together, providing generous cover to shoppers.

Status: Completed

Project Area: 18 522 m2

Project Type: Commercial

Project Team: Phillippe Fouche, Greg Truen, Jaco Bruwer & Thabiso Nkoane

The Render and Finished design only share 50% similarities, material changes and aspects of the design have been scaled back.

#Architecture #Design #NigerianArchitecture #ConceptDesign #UrbanPlanning #CommercialArchitecture

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