Cities like Lagos need building designs that don’t just copy global styles says The Conversation
Dr Anthony Ogbuokiri Senior Lecturer, Nottingham Trent University
Dr Emmanuel Manu Associate Professor in Quantity Surveying and Project Management, Nottingham Trent University
"Covered in glass, the former IMB Plaza building in Lagos stood as an example of the influence of international design styles on the Nigerian commercial capital’s architecture.
Such “internationally” styled high-rise buildings, often seen as a symbol of progress and economic advancement, are not always well integrated into the local climate or landscape. In the case of Lagos, the climate is hot and humid, yet buildings like this are hermetically sealed, enclosed in glass, with limited shading from the sun and high reliance on artificial ventilation.
Similar imported architectural features are evident in other high-rise buildings across Lagos such as the WEMA Tower, Stallion Tower and Sapetro Tower. It is a trend in other African cities too.
The lack of connection with local context often has significant energy, environmental and social implications.
Such designs are driven by imitation, which limits social, cultural and conceptual diversity. Imitation in architecture – or “duplitecture” – also goes against the United Nation’s Agenda 2030, which seeks to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. To achieve this vision in developing African countries, it may be necessary to revisit current approaches to the built environment.
The culture of using foreign architectural styles, regardless of the consequences, comes from the pressures of globalisation and the colonial past of some African countries. But our research supports the view that buildings that are more linked to their local environment, climate and culture will be more sustainable for developing African cities"
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Photo: Estate Intel