Civic Center V.I
The 17-storey Civic Center Towers in VI Lagos, an intelligent structure, is being engineered to offer first class office standards, including floor to floor exterior glazing with high performances of noise and heat insulation. Photo:

Architecture, according to the Architects Registration Council of Nigeria is the art and science in theory and practice of design, erection, commissioning, maintenance and management and coordination of allied professional inputs thereto of buildings, or part thereof and the layout and master plan of such building or groups of building forming a comprehensive institution, establishment of neighbourhood as well as any other organized space,enclosed or opened required for human and other activities.

Houses in the old Oyo empire were built mainly with mud brick. The walls, made in layers, have timber trusses, which support the thatched covered roof. Erection of houses required no special skills and everyman was an architect but it is peculiar, given these situations, that some of the structures have remained standing after, in some cases, 300 years. Rectangular courtyard, which is typically in the middle of the house, opened to the skies, and it is lined by intersecting veranda from which rooms are assessed. This serves to moderate a microclimate. Houses are oriented towards the house of the Chief in that area, and the entire town approximately has the palace of the Alaafin as its focal point. The same is true for many towns of the Empire, especially the “well planned” cities of the 11th Century Ile-Ife, Ilesha, and Ekiti.

Originally Lagos had many of the characteristics of a Yoruba village. Each family had a compound which was usually arranged with the houses placed around a single courtyard, example being the Oba’s palace, and the Oshodi Court. Brazillian returnees in at the turn of the 20th Century built ornate houses of bright pastel colors, having balcony grills, dormers and attic spaces. The Gothic shaped windows are usually large.

By 1913, the European influence had played out in the architecture of Abeokuta such that mud houses were beginning to be roofed with tin. A few large European-style buildings, including government offices, schools, shops, churches, and the homes of the affluent Egba people had begun to spring up. Even the town’s chief, the Alake’s house was in European style. By the late 1930s, motifs of the modern movement had become very popular- the modern flat roof, which proved unsiutable for the heavy rainfall of the tropics. Dr. Mrs. Bodga of the Federal University of Technology in Akure opined that the link between the historical style and Nigeria’s traditional architecture and the contemporary modern architecture was weak. Modern Nigerian architecture was dominated by international style largely because of the leanings of the foregin-trained architects of the mid 20th Century Nigeria. At the eve of Nigeria’s independence, the first tall buildings in Lagos were already standing. The city ensured not to miss out in the glass curtain walls that was hallmark of ultramodern urban life in many countries. However, the Nigerian High-trop architecture of glass boxes as represented in First Bank Headquarters and the IMB VI style took a different meaning.

architecture residential lagos
Nouveau Rich: Architecture of the rich, usually found in residential houses with typical post-modern elements, semicircular windows, verandas or balconies and other picturesque elements. Photo source:

Modern ecclestestial architecture emerged, according to Adeboye A.B. of the Covenant University, after the evolution of modern architecture. This was observable with the evolution of church buildings from its foreign monument look of the old to the contemporary design which makes it looks like a factory as in the case of the Daystar church at Oregun Ikeja, or like a make-shift. The preeminence of functionality over form as observed both in contemporary church and temporal architecture makes buildings look drab but many preserve their symbolitsm of progress and modernity.

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer