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Architects urge for investment in high density high-rise buildings

Nigerian architects have been urged to position themselves to address the nation’s challenge.

Former President, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), gave the  charge at the just-concluded Lagos Architects’ Forum (LAF 7.0), with the  theme: Evolving architecture. The yearly forum was organised by the state chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA).

“Architects should provide complete building solutions not just drawings; architecture is much more than designing buildings and then walking away,” he said, even as he charged the Lagos State government to appoint an architect from the public sector to oversee construction processes in the state.

To this end, architects, under the aegis of their professional body, are calling for an urgent need to create parameters for high density, vertical buildings and establishment of safety factors for development of same in the state. This, they believe, has become expedient given the geographical landscape of the state, which has made land for building a scarce commodity. Such initiative, they agreed, would help in the management and usage of land in the state, as well as reducing the activities of quacks who take advantage of the scarce resource and endanger peoples’ lives.

Besides, they observed that for the Lagos metropolis to undergo a rapid and dynamic transformation, especially in its quest to be a megacity, there is an urgent need to rethink its real estate development plans by encouraging investment in high density high-rise buildings.

The President, NIA, Mr. Tonye Braide, while agreeing with Agbakoba’s submissions, revealed that there is a need for indigenous architects to reengineer their approach to the practice of their profession, if they hope to remain relevant locally and internationally.

Braide observed that there is a global change from the conception of urban space to the treatment of interior details. Besides, with new technologies, which improve environmental comfort and conserve energy, and construction materials, which greatly improve cost, including very low maintenance indices, an architect has to be on his toes always.

“The demand for architects in the coming years will be enormous. Beyond this will be the demand for specialisations, which will provide a quality assurance programme, better buildings and better cities. We have no option but to institute change and catch up with the world before the world leaves us far behind. We have to act and act fast. We cannot be acclaimed leaders of the building industry and remain totally out of tune with the modern concept of design,” the NIA boss said.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Housing, Mr. Bayo Dipe, who represented the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode at the forum, said in line with the state’s policy on wealth creation, the government planned to work with all the relevant building professionals to improve the construction industry. He assured that indigenous professionals will be fully involved in the construction of the proposed 4th Mainland Bridge.

The Chairman, Lagos Chapter, NIA, Mr. Ladipo Lewis, expressed confidence that the economic activities generated by the state could be harnessed to create better quality buildings, which will lead to a reversal from the losses that usually arise from the development of substandard structures.

The President, Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON), Alhaji Umaru Aliyu, regretted that the construction industry remained the most bastardised sector, challenging government at all levels to revamp the sector.

Source: The Nation

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