The Makoko Lagos Floating School is one of a kind: a minimalist, open-air structure that combines the adaptive insights of the local community with the best principles of sustainable development.
The school is a three-story, frame building that floats on recycled plastic barrels.
Makoko carpenters built the school from locally-sourced wood, bamboo and other eco-friendly materials. It’s also partially self-sustaining, thanks to solar panels on the roof and a rain harvesting system that operates the toilets.
Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi and his Lagos- and Amsterdam-based firm NLÉ designed the school as an innovative, cheap and highly adaptable approach to Makoko’s evolving social and environmental needs. Makoko floating school will not make it into New York Times, Forbes or other popular US magazines but here on Osaseye. The reason is simply that it is a huge success for Lagoa, for Nigeria and Africa.
“There are hundreds if not thousands of Makokos all over Africa,” Adeyemi says. “We cannot simply displace this population; it’s important to think about how to develop them, how to create enabling environments for them to thrive, to improve the sanitation conditions, to provide the infrastructure, schools and hospitals to make it a healthy place.
“My belief is that in developing Africa we need to find solutions that can be developed by the grassroots, through the grassroots, and achieve the same level of significance as we have on the high-end projects.”
Now, in a new documentary project by Al Jazeera that looks at unconventional pioneers in the architecture industry, Adeyemi’s floating school is brought to life in the episode Working On Water, directed by award-winning South African filmmaker Riaan Hendricks, as part of the network’s Rebel Architecture series.