An award-winning floating school designed by Nigerian architect Kunlé Adeyemi for a shantytown in Lagos collapsed this week under heavy rainfall. The structure, a replica of which won the Silver Lion at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale had been built in 2013 to offer stable teaching facilities to the residents of Makoko, a floating slum on the Lagos waterfront with a population of more than 100,000 residents.
A statement from Adeyemi’s firm, NLÉ, confirmed early reports of the collapse. The firm also noted that the “first prototype structure” was already being considered for “demolition and upgrading” after “three years of intensive use.” The firm went on to clarify that the facility has been out of use since March, and that all its students have since been relocated. There were no casualties in the collapse.
“The prototype had served its purpose in time,” said Adeyemi in the release, “and we look forward to the reconstruction of the improved version.”
As RECORD reported in 2013, the three-story timber school floated on 256 plastic barrels and was powered by rooftop solar panels. NLÉ announced the project in the aftermath of the Nigerian state government’s failed attempt to evict the entire community of Makoko.
The school was slated to be only the first phase of an NLÉ campaign to build a entire floating community on the waterfront. The firm told RECORD at the time that the state government had given the project its approval, but in 2013 the Lagos commissioner for waterfront and infrastructure development called the initial structure “illegal since inception.”