African floating schools

Maria de Juan

A new wave of African creatives is on the rise and making a name for itself across Africa and abroad.

Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi is the creator of floating schools for Lagos Lagoon. He also built a prototype to float in an Italian Venice canal.

While the colours, patterns and crafts are profoundly rooted in African tradition, young designers infuse their creations with a disruptive edge that makes them contemporary, unique and truly pieces that represent African design.

Rising sea levels and a shortage of development sites are leading to a surge of interest in floating buildings, with proposals ranging from mass housing on London’s canals to entire amphibious cities in China.

People will increasingly live and work on water, as planning policies shift away from building flood defences towards accepting that seas and rivers cannot be contained forever.

NLE studio developed the Makoko Floating School as a prototype for building in African regions that have unpredictable water levels, which causes regular flooding.

Kunlé Adeyemi is founder of Dutch studio NLE. Besides the floating school, they have designed several aquatic buildings in coastal Africa, such as a radio station in the Niger Delta.

These buildings are prototypes for part of a larger research project called African Water Cities, which aims to create new infrastructure in waterside areas.

Contemporary architects and urbanists tackle challenges like climate change, globalisation, urbanisation in new and creative ways to come up with buildings and structures that are not only contemporary or visually appealing but also responding to the current and future needs of communities across the continent.

Given the impact of climate change, we can begin to think a lot more about the opportunity for living with water as opposed to fighting it and doing land reclamation.


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