[a]fa lagos legacy

[a]FA LAGOS LEGACY2TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION [applied] Foreign Affairs, Legacy 1995 05 Project Brief | Baerbel Mueller 06 Panorama Photo of the Nigerian Railway…
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[a]FA LAGOS LEGACY2TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION [applied] Foreign Affairs, Legacy 1995 05 Project Brief | Baerbel Mueller 06 Panorama Photo of the Nigerian Railway Compound 08 Lagos, from the Megacity to the Pepperfarm | Abosede Goerge 10 Conversation on Heritage and Future | Mogbolahan Ajala, Sola Akintunde, 12 Stefanie Theuretzbacher PROJECTS Tracing the Story of the Nigerian Railway | Toms Kampars 21 Interstices | Adeola Olagunju 37 Carriage | Tito Aderemi-Ibitola 47 Hanging out with Nature | Stephanie Rizaj 57 Existing Works | Nature 65 Ori | Aderemi Adegbite and Jon Krizan 69 Ivy | Cansu ErgĂźn 79 Memories Matter | Katerina Joannides 87 This House is not for Sale | Mathias Juul Frost 97 Handle with Care | Frida Robles 109 WIDER DISCOURSE Creative Participation in the Urban Renewal of Lagos | Papa Omotayo in Conversation with Frida Robles Negotiating City Spaces | Olamide Udoma-Ejorh Terrain Vague in Lagos? | Frida Robles Fragrant of the Old contoured with the New | Oyindamola Fakeye The Nature of Memory | Dare Dan The [a]FA Lagos Legacy Lab Feb 2017 | Amritt Flora 118 124 126 128 130 134EVENTS Schedule of Lab 138 Meetings and Reviews 140 Public Viewing 146 CVs 150 Impressum/Credits/Funding 152[a]FA Lagos Legacy 20173The [a]FA Lagos Legacy lab is a joint project by [applied] Foreign Affairs, Institute of Architecture at the University of Applied Arts Vienna with Legacy 1995.4LABORATORYHOST[APPLIED] FOREIGN AFFAIRSLEGACY 1995[applied] Foreign Affairs is a laboratory at the Institute of Architecture of the University of Applied Arts Vienna that investigates spatial, infrastructural, environmental, and cultural phenomena in rural and urban sub-Saharan Africa. A series of talks introduces students to the spatial diversity and cultural vibrancy of the contemporary African condition, followed by workshops which focus on the status and potential of a specific region or situation. Projects center around distinct questions, or clear missions, and culminate in field trips and residencies through which mappings, rural growth patterns, visionary art spaces, and relational physical interventions are produced. The process of relating and making is conceptualized in a reactive and slowed-down manner.Formed in 1995 by a group of professionals, LEGACY has watched itself become the foremost historical and environmental interest group of Nigeria. The objective is gathering committed men and women, Nigerians and non-Nigerians, for the common cause of preserving and promoting the character and appearance of historic monuments, the environment, and cultural entities in all parts of Nigeria. LEGACY is presently based within the Nigerian Railway Compound in Ebute-Metta, Lagos, with its headquarters located at Jaekel House, a piece of colonial architecture dating back to the beginnings of the railways in Nigeria in 1898. This very beautiful 119-year-old house was restored in 2010 by LEGACY´s founder Prof. John Godwin, and is currently serving as a mini-railway museum that has also served as the set for various media productions. Further, LEGACY organizes walkabouts, train excursions, and road trips to create and heighten awareness of historically significant places of interest around the country, culminating in being technical partners to the British Council-backed Open House Lagos 2016 ( which trains volunteer tour guides.The outcome of each lab is presented in different formats and contexts, both on the African continent and in Europe. [a]FA is performed in collaboration with international guests, teaching staff of the Institute of Architecture, and partner universities. [a]FA is commissioned by NGOs, cultural institutions, artist collectives, and individuals. Conventional relationships between client, community, and architect; teacher and student; studio, university, and field are questioned. Conditions of uncertainty and fragility are embraced. At best, spatial and programmatic hybrids of diverse ownerships emerge[a]FA Lagos Legacy 20175PROJECT BRIEF BY BAERBEL MUELLER All at the same time, Lagos is constantly growing and renewing itself, and teetering on the edge of a possible crisis. Lagos is shaped by extreme contrasts. Lagos is ambiguous. Lagos is vibrant. Lagos is demanding. Its most pressing issues are its lack of space and transportation: there seems to be no escape for the city from a fate of (often dysfunctional) urbanity. Against this backdrop, and informed by Legacy 1995´s agenda, its dedication to the built heritage of Lagos, and its location, at the Nigerian Railway Compound in Ebute- Metta, [a]FA Lagos Legacy has been conceptualized as a joint laboratory with a speculative and artistic approach. The intention was to identify the potential of the railway compound as a kind of enchanted terrain with intriguing, abandoned structures in the middle of Lagos Mainland. Legacy’s Running Shed was the “node” of interest from which the lab was started in a playful, transdisciplinary manner. Navigating between field research, spatial articulations, and artistic interventions; questions of urbanity, space, history, identity, and agency were addressed. As a conceptual starting point, the lab centered around three topics: Heritage, Scale, and Terrain Vague. Based on these notions, participants were asked to map the fragility, beauty, and potential of the given site. An interdisciplinary team of architecture and art students, young architects, and Lagosbased artists collaborated on adhoc projects that were realized in digital and physical forms, and shown to the public at the end of a two-week onsite lab that took place in February 2017. Working on these spatial and ephemeral interventions served as a kind of trial arrangement. It was possible to experience the pure scale of the given space,and its potential for future programming. The space was envisioned as a recreational, creative, and shared space for diverse user groups, beyond commercially driven or exclusive interests.TERRAIN VAGUE With the coining of the French term “terrain vague” (1995), architect and philosopher Ignasi de Solà-Morales demonstrated his interest in the concept of absence in the contemporary metropolis. This interest focuses on abandoned areas, obsolete and unproductive spaces and buildings, often undefined and without specific limits, places to which he applies the term. In regard to the generalized tendency to “reincorporate” these places into the productive logic of the city by transforming them into reconstructed spaces, de Solà-Morales insists on the value of their state of ruin and lack of productivity. Only in this way can they manifest themselves as spaces of freedom that serve as an alternative to the lucrative reality prevailing in the capitalist city. Essentially meaning “non-design”, “terrain vague” is a compelling concept, powerful in its ability to theorize on the margins of the ordered world, offering the opportunity to investigate existing urban phenomena of indeterminacy – both spatial and social – and to learn from this existing urban condition. It is about forces instead of forms, the incorporated instead of the distant, the haptic instead of the optic, and the rhizomatic instead of the figurative. “The role of the architect is inevitably problematic. Architecture’s destiny has always been colonization, the imposing of limits, order, and form […].” “How can architecture act in the terrain* Sources: without becoming an aggressive instrument of power and abstract reason? Undoubtedly, through attention to continuity: not the continuity of the planned, efficient, and legitimized city, but of the flows, the energies, the rhythms established by the passing of time and the loss of limits... ” (Ignasi de Solà-Morales, 1995)HERITAGE Based on Legacy 1995´s interest in and knowledge of Lagos´s built heritage, we looked at the notion of heritage in the context of the Nigerian Railway Compound in terms of the following aspects: history – or rather, histories – as heritage, referring to events or processes that have a special meaning in collective memory; a site as heritage having the value of being of political, military, cultural, or social national importance to the history of that nation; monuments from industrial culture as industrial heritage; cultural heritage as the legacy of physical artefacts and intangible attributes of a group or society; fauna and flora, landscape and landforms understood as natural heritage. SCALE “Scale is not a limited concept, it overcomes borders and in reality, scale is collapsing, making the nano into the global, and beyond.” (Hannah Le Roux). We investigated the Nigerian Railway Compound, starting with the Running Shed as an architectural object of the railway compound as an ensemble, area, and urban island; an island located in the middle of Lagos as a megacity, which again is a national and continental waypoint, with a railroad track leading to Kano… We identified the spatial relationships, proportions, connections, and effects through cross-readings within a full spectrum of scales. Operatingwithin this spectrum and within scale shifts implies a shift from top-down planning and object-defined architecture to relational approaches, which are so desperately needed to understand and react to the contemporary (African) urban condition. CONCEPT The onsite lab was structured into four stages: Perception / Conception / Translation / (Re)Presentation. Perception: The team of architects and artists explored the given terrain through walks, maps, talks, documents, and narrations, followed by further individual encounters whereby what was perceived was documented through the medium of photography or video (camera, smartphone), sketches, and texts. Conception: Based on the previously identified (spatial) intensities, atmospheres, and facts, each participant worked on a concept for an investigation – either individually, or in collaboration. Translation: The proposed concept was translated into pieces of work which were then developed individually, or as a group project. The medium of expression was defined according to the respective topic. (Re)Presentation: The projects – or works in progress – were shown and shared with a wider audience at the very end of the laboratory. This publication was produced in order to collect and archive the works, and document the lab and the public event that took place on February 25, 2017 in and around the Running Shed.* Sources: Originally published in ‘Anyplace’ - edited by Cynthia C. Davidson (1995)7Drone panorama8[a]FA Lagos Legacy 20179LAGOS FROM THE PEPPERFARM TO THE MEGACITY BY ABOSEDE GEORGE When one speaks of Lagos, Nigeria, one could be referring to any one of three places— its most historic region, Lagos Island; metropolitan Lagos, which includes the urbanized parts of the island and the mainland; or Lagos State, which includes the urban and rural areas of the state. All these Lagos-es exist in a spatial relationship to one another, as well as a temporal one, meaning that one Lagos comes after another in a historical sequence. What follows, however, is not a comprehensive history but an outline of how Lagos began and what it has been. The oldest settlements in Lagos State are Lagos Island, Iddo, and Ebute-Metta. The recorded origins of human settlement there date back to the 15th century, when these places were still marshy islands thick with wildlife and mangrove forests, and populated by small communities of fisher folk from the Awori ethnic group. By the middle of the 17th century, Lagos had become a tributary state of the powerful Benin Empire. But as vassals at the outer reaches of the empire, the Obas of Lagos would inevitably erode as a result of this constraint on their full autonomy. During the 18th century, Lagos came out from under Benin rule. During the reign of Oba Akinsemoyin, a more independent Lagos entered the Atlantic slave trade as a middleman state, trading goods for people with Portuguese slave traders. This new extractive economy enriched the elites, while also expanding the population of marginalized people in Lagos. A monarchical feud in the early to mid-19th century would bring an end to Lagos’s independence. In the dispute between two claimants to the throne, Kosoko and Akitoye, Oba Akitoye entered into a treaty of protection10with the British which involved trading Lagos’s full sovereignty for the backing of Britain’s military power. Akitoye’s victory won him the throne of Lagos, but in the process, Lagos was converted from an independent polity into a new British colony in West Africa. The advent of the British colonial period witnessed another phase of growth and diversification of the population of Lagos. In the mid-19th century, migrant communities from Sierra Leone, Cuba, Brazil, and other Yoruba diasporas appeared and took up residency in distinct areas of Lagos Island, which was at that point also known as Lagos Colony. In 1914, two neighboring British colonial territories, the Northern Protectorate and the Southern Protectorate, were amalgamated to form the single colonial territory of Nigeria. Against the protests of African nationalists, Lagos was named as the colonial capital of this new formation. Within this new capital, colonial officials sought to practice racial segregation in political, economic, social, and even spiritual life. The development of Ikoyi, planned as a Europeans-only quarter, was a clear spatial manifestation of this racial ideology. The development of Ikoyi began to create a Europeans-only quarter in Lagos. To insulate Ikoyi from African presences, a canal with two manned bridges was carved into Lagos Island in order to separate the new European quarter from the African areas of the town. This project was completed by 1923. Some of the justification that had been given for these spatial segregation policies had to do with concerns about sanitation and public health. Both segregation in urban planning and slum clearances were carried out in the name of public health concerns. For example, between 1924 and 1930, the co-lonial state demolished a series of native settlements, citing a need to control the spread of bubonic plague. In the 1950s, the practice of settlement clearances was revisited, but this time by an African-led Lagos Executive Development Board. Nigeria gained its independence from British colonial rule in the year 1960. With the independence of Nigeria, Lagos, whose population was about 700,000, was named as the federal capital territory. This made Lagos the seat of federal political and military power, as well as a major center of media and economic power in the nation. The FCT was not a state however, and Lagos indigenes were denied the prerogatives of state citizenship that most Nigerians enjoyed in their home states. It was not until 1967, following the intensive lobbying of nationalists, that Lagos State was formally established as a state within the republic. Over the latter part of the 20th century, the population of Lagos State continued to grow, as did its territorial reach. New bridges connecting the island with various parts of the mainland were opened in order to integrate Lagos State more fully. In 1975, Eko Bridge was opened. The Third Mainland Bridge followed in 1990. By 1990, the population was estimated to be almost 5 million. It is important to note that during much of this growth phase, Nigeria was a military dictatorship. From 1966-1979, and then again from 1983 - 1988, Nigeria came under the control of a series of military rulers, interspersed with two brief periods of civilian rule. One was the four-year period of Governor Lateef Jakande from 1979 - 1983. During Jakande’s time, a number of mass housing projects were constructed, as well as many public institutions like hospitals and schools. From the time of the Benin Kingdom into the[a]FA Lagos Legacy 2017era of British rule and through to the birth of independent Nigeria, Lagos had been a seat of political and military power. All that was changed in 1991 when the federal capital was relocated to the new planned city of Abuja. The more things changed the more they stayed the same. Clearances continued through the final years of the 20th century. One notorious case was the 1992 clearance of the Maroko community to create an exclusive Victoria Island extension. In 1999, Lagos returned to civilian rule when Bola Tinubu became governor of Lagos State, inaugurating the current phase of democratic rule. While Lagos has seen the growth of middle and aspiring classes in the democratic period, it has also seen the continuation of marginalizing practices. For example, in 2006, the Lekki Free Trade Zone was established and work began on creating a new city of gated estates for Lagos elites. In 2012, the Makoko community was notoriously razed to make way for exclusive waterfront real estate. In 2013, the Eko Atlantic City project was established and work began on constructing a new city that would bean outgrowth of Lagos, but also distinct from Lagos in that it was meantfor wealthy diaspora Nigerians and others. The history of Lagos is long and complex and ongoing. The city has been influenced by several different kinds of regimes: the Benin monarchy, the independent monarchy, British colonial rule, the Nigerian federal republic, military rule, democratic rule. It has grown from a tiny collection of fishing villages to the most densely populated urban agglomeration on the continent. What next for Lagos?11CONVERSATION ON HERITAGE AND FUTURE WITH MOGBOLAHAN AJALA, SOLA AKINTUNDE, STEFANIE THEURETZBACHER ST: Could you briefly explain what the purpose of Legacy 1995 is and its relation to Lagos? SA: I would like to travel back in time and imagine the group of people that formed Legacy: what did they have in mind? I imagine that they found Lagos and Nigeria, as a whole, to be without a sense of identity, with no tangible Nigerian culture, basically because most of the history and the culture before colonization had been lost. Legacy wanted to share this history so that people can get a sense of where they come from, and how to continue from there. Lagos is the case study for all of this because we are in Lagos; if it doesn’t happen in Lagos it is not happening anywhere. MA: It was about rediscovering the city at a time when its population had surpassed its development in terms of physical entities. Legacy was made up of architects, journalists, urban planners, thinking about how to best re-orientate people regarding the heritage of Lagos, about what there was in the colonial period, in the early independence periods, and what could now be done in terms of preservation and restoration, trying to bring all these old existing buildings back into modern-day life. So Legacy, in the context of Lagos, was about restoring the values that once existed there. ST: The question for me is of which history to preserve. Is it the pre-colonial, colonial, or post-independence history that we should relate to in the field of culture and built environment? There is not much documentation or research available regarding pre-colonial architecture. But there are many examples of12tropical architecture from the ‘60s through the ‘80s that explore topics which are very relevant in terms of the Nigerian cultural context and environment. The buildings have a potential that could be further developed or learned from. A people’s identity changes over time and can also be reinvented and reshaped by everyone who is living it. In this sense, I am asking myself if the British heritage is the best one for us to relate to. Speaking of heritage, what is the current situation regarding architectural heritage
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