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February 26, 2016

Floating School in Lagos, Nigeria: Rafts in architecture

Image courtesy of NLE via their Makoko Floating School press kit.

Makoko is a floating slum neighbourhood in Lagos, Nigeria, built on stilts and rafts across the Lagos Lagoon. NLÉ is a Nigerian architecture firm who designed this floating school in 2013, to provide a teaching and learning space in this very crowded area. The solution wouldn't look out of place at KonTiki.

All images courtesy of NLE via their Makoko Floating School press kit.

While this project doesn't use lashings, it does make use of round laths, plastic drums and plywood, like a Kontiki raft. Here's some information from their press kit:
 The 220sq.m A-­‐frame or pyramid building is 10m high with a 10m x 10m base. It is an ideal shape for a floating object on water due to its relatively low center of gravity, which provides stability and balance even in heavy winds. It also has a total capacity to safely support a hundred adults, even in extreme weather conditions.

The building has three levels. The 1st level is an open play area for school breaks and assembly, which also serves as a community space during after hours. The 2nd level is an enclosed space for two to four classrooms, providing enough space for sixty to a hundred pupils. A staircase on the side connects the open play area, the classrooms and a semi enclosed workshop space on the 3rd level.

The simple yet innovative structure adheres to ideal standards of sustainable development with its inclusive technologies for renewable energy, waste reduction, water and sewage treatment as well as the promotion of low-­‐carbon transport. Furthermore a team of eight Makoko based builders constructed it using eco-­‐ friendly, locally sourced bamboo and wood procured from a local sawmill.

Construction began in September 2012 with floatation mock-­‐ups and testing. Recycled empty plastic barrels found abundantly in Lagos were used for the building’s buoyancy system, which consists of 16 wooden modules, each containing 16 barrels. The modules were assembled on the water, creating the platform that provides buoyancy for the building and its users. Once this was assembled, construction of the A-­‐frame followed and was completed by March 2013. Makoko Floating School is now in regular use by the community as a social, cultural and economic center and recently welcomed its first pupils who now use it as a primary school.
All images courtesy of NLE via their Makoko Floating School press kit.




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