The Evolution of the Vernacular : Reblog

When it comes to the history of architecture, those who work within the industry know very well the importance and the relevance of referring to the past; not only to prevent the repetition of the same mistakes, but also to remain grounded and to understand where one's ideas sit within the wider framework of things.

Though this is not a recent development, the issue of 'imported' architecture, has always brewed beneath the surface of my personal discussions.

Today, the discussion is opened to allow those of you who have strong views about this to speak out.
Lagos; the old capital was a target for colonisation much also like many other major cities around the world, but now that we have entered the aftermath of this it's important to remember to continue to ask questions, for example; have we managed to regain our image and our identity.

Of course, the colonisation of Nigeria cannot be ignored, and in truth, it shouldn't, afterall history is history be it good or bad and perhaps this is what Nigeria needed in order to confront the development of its architecture.

It is also important to note that this conflict, of the colonial and vernacular, is not unique to Nigeria, many countries such as India and South Africa also struggled with this 'search for the contemporary identity'. There are opportunities to research and learn from their discoveries on their journey to finding their identity in architecture and another post has been dedicated to exploring these examples.

After all of this, you must still ask yourself; can you take a person to Lagos, and know that they would be able to grasp the genesis of Nigeria and of course, its evolution?

For example, the pictures below are of some of the wealthy places in Lagos, areas where it is evident that both time and money have gone into the development of the surrounding architecture.

Victoria Island







http://www.propertyatlsdpc.com/portfoliocontent1.htm

There is very little reference to the vernacular and even to the past. It may even look as if the architecture is a little too eager to jump to the future neglecting the need for research into specific terrain and weather needs and how to bring forward elements that our ancestors perfected and that work! Houses/apartments as pictured about are typical of places like America, and the 'mansion' lifestyle is glorified. Most Nigerian vernacular buildings hold strong relationships with their surroundings, and feature softer lines that reflect the method of construction - typically by hand and the available resources native to that area. Exterior markings and emblems on the outside dictate the hierarchy of a series of live-in spaces and overall there is a sense of flow and continuity with the surroundings.

The fear is that these gated community 'imported' designs, neglect to respond to the history of the land, and thus they seem temporary, they seem like they are merely sitting on the soil beneath, and not truly penetrating deep into the roots, into the earth, and into the people.
The Evolution of the Vernacular : Reblog The Evolution of the Vernacular : Reblog Reviewed by NG on 10/24/2011 09:00:00 am Rating: 5

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this blog. I'm an archi student and I've always felt this way. I feel that nigerian architects are using western solutions to solve nigerian architectural problems. Meanwhile the westerners are changing and moving away from such techniques as time has proven that these solutions don't work with the problems the world faces today..thank you. I believe we need to move towards trying to solve our own problems with our own solutions. This can only be done through more research into the things that are affecting us as a society and mapping out solutions for now and future generations. Nigeria is still young 52 now westerners have order for centuries. Let's put our heads together and shape our built environment and shape our future. Princealex@hotmail.co.uk

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