people reside in Makoko, in a stilt settlement south of Lagos, built over
water, served by only one English-speaking primary school on reclaimed land
susceptible to flooding. The Floating School is a prototype structure whose
main aim is to generate an alternative building system and urban culture for
the populations of Africa’s coastal regions. The triangular A-frame or pyramid
(10m high with a 10m x 10m base), built from locally sourced wood and bamboo
and buoyed by recycled plastic barrels, is an ideal shape for tall floating
objects on water. The structure has three levels: an open play area and
community space; an enclosed space for two classrooms for 60 pupils, connected
by stairs to the play area; and a semi-enclosed workshop space on a third
level. It is scalable and adaptable for other uses, such as housing, health clinic,
market, an entertainment centre or an infrastructure hub. The prototype’s
versatile structure is a safe and economical floating triangular frame that
allows flexibility for customisation and completion based on specific needs and
Source: Aga Khan Trust for Culture
Note: (3/29/2020) NLÉ received the Silver Lion at the 2016 Biennale di Venezia for an improved prototype of the structure. The citation commended the project as "a powerful demonstration, be it
in Lagos or in Venice, that architecture, at once iconic and pragmatic, can amplify the importance of education."1
Shortly after, the original structure collapsed in heavy rains.2
Architettura 2016 2016 | Awards Of The Biennale Architettura 2016.” La
Biennale Di Venezia. Accessed March 29, 2020a.
Archived at https://perma.cc/DVC9-QEWB
Andrew. 2016. “Does Makoko Floating School‘s Collapse Threaten The
Whole Slum’s Future?” The Guardian. June 10, 2016.
Archived at https://perma.cc/JL8R-GZKD.