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Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Addicted to Air Conditioning systems

With the number of air conditioning systems we rely on in Nigeria, from cars to those in our living rooms, I feel it necessary to touch on this subject.

Some 'environmental' modules I completed in university, opened the vast sea of 'renewable and conservational' approaches to dealing with various heating and cooling loads in residential properties.

The first idea that came to mind was the double roof construction/system, which literally uses 'two roofs' to reduce solar radiation and direct heat gain from the overhead sun.
(Other principles of providing thermal comfort in buildings will be covered in future posts).


Double roofs can be constructed from a wide variety of materials, and suit Nigeria's hot climate and they are inexpensive solutions to heat gain through the roof of a building.




Tuesday, 8 February 2011

The Next Generation of Architects

I met a young man last summer, who had studied Architecture in Nigeria for 6 years, and then after qualifying his degree, he decided to think about his life, his future, his prospects, and in one swift move decided to become a fashion designer.

Like most Nigerian students, dropping out of anything is rarely the 'better' option, so instead many stay on to study and complete their course, and only afterwards begin considering their options post-qualification.

Now, the point is this, what do you believe he would say if I asked him was it all worth it?

In several countries around the world, Architecture along with Medicine share are some of the longest lasting "undergraduate" courses any student could elect to do at university level. Whilst medicine is well understood and respected by the average man (no matter where he/she's from) architecture still remains to be a sort of secret society if you will (if I am to quote a lawyer friend of mine).

Once again, I can't help but ask; is it worth it?

What things are being done to ensure that the youth believe that completing the whole 6 years (or whatever it may be in your country) is worth it?

As discussed in many of my previous posts on this blog, there is a sizeable gap between the common person and architecture, and finding a good straight forward 'answer' to this profession is practically impossible - this is something that all the countries share in common. Because of this, students will continue to look elsewhere, and other professions will continue to lure away the committed, strong willed, dedicated, innovative and enthusiastic personalities which are unique characteristics required to complete the course.

Unfortunately the answer was that young man didn't think it was all worth it. Not necessarily to the point of regret, 6 years of rigorous study is rarely deemed to be "worth-it" when at the end of it the person feels that they need to look else where.

Maybe someday he'll re-realise his desire to become a practising architect, but for now the large scale and worldwide interest in fashion, publicity, and the attainable rewards of that industry will be sufficient enough to distract him from re-thinking his decision for a while.

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