March 11, 2014

IRONY OF A FLOATING SCHOOL: Banned in Nigeria, nominated for award in London

IRONY OF A FLOATING SCHOOL: Banned in Nigeria, nominated for award in London

…The three storey building floating school


RESIDENTS of Makoko-Iwaya Community have appealed to the Lagos state government to revoke its order and allow the Makoko floating school, a three-storey wooden structure commence academic activities.
This came as the floating school received nomination for the Designs of the Year 2014 award, an award which is overseen by London’s Design Museum.

The state government through the Commissioner for Waterfront and Infrastructure Development, Prince Adesegun Oniru had last year said that the structure is an illegal structure, adding “it shouldn’t be there, and we are trying to get rid of structures there.”

...The three storey building floating school

…The three storey building floating school

Recycled plastic barrels
The floating school buoyed by 256 recycled plastic barrels, was constructed by Mr. Kunle Adeyemi, the founder of NLE works, a Netherland based architectural company; was yet to be demolished.
The construction of the floating school, an initiative supported by the United Nation Development Programme, UNDP, was expected to kick start the regeneration of the community.

The floating school would be competing with 14 other structures selected from all over the world such as Child chemo house from Japan, Heydar Aliyev center in Azerbaijan, Museo Jumex, Mexico city and Wa Shan guesthouse, Hangzhou, China.

Describing the school, the organizers of the award said that the structure is a prototype floating structure, built for the historic water community of Makoko, Nigeria, adding; “The school takes an innovative, cheap and sustainable approach to address the community’s specific social and physical needs.”
The floating school is expected to accommodate 100 children who will navigate to the school by boat.

Adeyemi who spoke to Vanguard from his Netherland office recently, said; “The desire to construct the school was burn out of curiosity after I visited the community. And my interest in the coastal community, where despite the little income made daily by the breadwinners, they have never stopped developing the infrastructures in the community.”

Explaining the building features, Adeyemi said; “The ground floor of the school would serve as an open recreational space for the pupils during the day and at night and weekends, their fathers can converge and hold meetings.”

He added that the first floor and the upper floor have classrooms that would serve as its primary purpose. According to him, “the structure would accommodate over 100 students and their teachers and it will add to the existing schools in the community.

Residents appeal
The secretary of the community, Mr. John Keke who spoke to Vanguard, said “we are law abiding citizens of this country. And we will be happy if the state government could allow the floating school to remain.”
Mrs. Senayon Matthew, a petty trader said “I want my children to have basic education. And the state government will be doing them more good if it could allow the structure which has been nominated for award, to stand.”

Mr. John Adugbo, a resident of Makoko, said; “We are happy with the project. We need more of the project. We want a project that would aid more children to attend schools. Presently, many children don’t have access to good educational facilities.”

“All we have are schools that were constructed to serve as palliative measures for the challenge.”