Top 10 Architecture Buildings in Nigeria
Nigeria has a population of 206 million people and is Africa’s largest economy. The population alone makes Nigeria the largest market in Africa, followed by Ethiopia and Egypt, with a population of 110 million and 102 million, respectively.
Besides the large market, Nigeria has so much going for it. In 2016, this oil-rich country had at least 37 trillion barrels of oil, making it the 10th country in the world with huge oil reserves, accounting for 2.2% of global reserves. The oil industry is partly responsible for the economic growth, which has spurred real estate development.
The population and economic growth made infrastructure development necessary to accommodate better housing, offices, malls, schools, churches and other essential and functional buildings. Like other professionals, architects identified investment opportunities in Nigeria, and many took a chance at creating modern and sustainable building designs.
Unfortunately, insecurity, particularly attacks by Boko Haram, a terrorist group in the region, has slowed investment and even caused immense damage to thousands of homes and public infrastructures. However, this has not deterred growth in many cities.
Today, modern architectural designs complement Nigeria’s heritage by using local and readily available building materials. This West African nation has several unique and iconic buildings that have not only transformed its skyline, but they have also become important landmarks.
Located in the most sought-after district of Ikoyi, this captivating 15-storey building made from glass and aluminum is one of the landmarks that have transformed Lagos’ exotic skyline. Twelve floors are corporate offices with a 360-degree stunning view of Lagos. The office spaces cover an area of 14, 827 sqm. High-end retail stores occupy two floors. The basement parking, which covers four floors, can easily accommodate 343 vehicles at once.
The building design is not just functional, but it is breathtaking as well. The architect considered Nigeria’s tropical climate, using the north-south orientation to ensure those in the building are not affected by the sun’s glare at any time of the day. Additionally, the design utilizes vertical plants and shading screens to reduce heat load.
The grandiose entrance has a curved podium slab at the front of the building, which invokes interest in finding out more about the building. This slab also acts as a canopy since it extends over the sidewalk, making the lobby attractive and cool for people to freely move about, especially on a hot day.
The architect, SAOTA, strategically chose the building materials used to draw attention to the design details, which would have otherwise been overlooked. For instance, the architect created curtain walls with a gentle curve running along the building’s main facades. Fixed sunscreens were used on the building’s exterior while low emission double glazed windows graced the interior skin.
The high ceiling helps to keep the building cool irrespective of the temperatures outside the building. The natural wood panels and Italian flooring add to the exquisite style that makes this building one of Nigeria’s best.
Federal Ministry of Defence, Abuja (Ship House)
The Federal Ministry of Defence, commonly known as the ship house, is a massive building that showcases Nigeria’s military might. This building was initially built for the Nigeria Ports Authority, hence the shape, before transferring to the Ministry of Defence. This Ministry is home to the Nigerian Army, the Air Force, the Navy, and other defence agencies and departments.
This Ministry is a gigantic complex that would leave anyone seeing it for the first time impressed with the detailed design. Interestingly, this massive structure, one of the largest buildings ever constructed in Nigeria, has been a source of controversy. While some people think it is a unique, beautiful and functional design, others feel it is a modern monstrosity that was a waste of resources and space.
Despite the mixed reactions towards this building, there is no doubt that it is one of Nigeria’s unforgettable buildings and an attraction most visitors yearn to see in Abuja.
National Theatre Lagos
The National Theatre is located in Iganmu, Lagos. Although it was constructed in 1976, this imposing building has outstanding architectural work that stands out even amongst the most modern structures gracing Nigeria’s skyline. Techno Exporstroy, a Bulgarian construction company, undertook the task of designing and constructing this building that has become home for Nigeria’s art and culture.
Covering a floor area of 23,000 square meters, and a height of 31 meters, this building is shaped like a military hat, a symbol that the building was constructed during the military regimes of Yakubu Gowon and Olusegun Obasanjo. It and can comfortably sit 5000 people. It has a collapsible stage, two cinema halls, wall carvings, and sculptures that tell a story about the Nigerian people’s different cultures. The trees, lawns, beautiful vegetation and lakes surrounding this building add to its beauty.
Cathedral Church of Christ, Lagos
The Cathedral Church of Christ is one of the buildings that date as far back as the 1940s, yet retain an appeal that is likely to last generations. This church’s design was initiated on 1st November 1924 by architect Bagan Benjamin, and the first foundation stone laid in April 1925. It took 21 years for the construction of this cathedral to be complete in 1946. Since then, the exterior has received a fresh coat of paint once every couple of years, which has helped ensure that this massive structure looks as good as the other modern buildings in the area.
This church is the oldest Anglican cathedral in Nigeria and housed the archbishop of the Province of West Africa, the archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Lagos, and the Bishop of Lagos.
This cathedral has two facades, one facing the altar and another facing the right nave. Its prime location at the centre of Lagos Island makes this building even more prominent. Additionally, this church has the largest organ in Nigeria, which equally serves as an attraction for those taken in by the details of this cathedral’s Norman Gothic architecture.
Akwa Ibom Digital Library
The Akwa Ibom Digital Library was constructed in 2012 and is the largest library of its kind in West Africa. The architect behind this library considered the potential demand for this library’s use in the age of digital transformation. The building design was intentional, to ensure the library is functional, and at the same time, give the building its standing as the first of its kind in West Africa.
The primary use of glass instead of concrete ensures the building receives sufficient lighting. Instead of clear glass, the architect opted for thick, dark glass to act as a sunscreen and prevent the sun’s glare in the library. The building is also quite spacious and has several structures, including a state-of-the-art video conferencing hall, an e-learning ICT training facility, office space, a board room, a smart classroom, a creche, and a reprography unit.
This library has remained popular because the design envisioned the present and future demands for the use of this building, which has quickly become one of Nigeria’s outstanding structures.
The Civic Centre, Lagos
The Civic Centre, Lagos is an exceptional architectural piece. The architect behind this impressive building, James Cubitt, sited the small plot of land as having influenced the inverted structure.
The reception is on the ground floor, seminar rooms are on the middle floors, while offices are located at the top. Other facilities in the building include three banqueting rooms and two meeting rooms. Its lake front location makes this design ideal since the banqueting room, and other upper floor facilities have a panoramic view of the lake and an aerial view of Lagos.
For this design to work, the architect avoided columns because they would obstruct the views. Instead, he used the iconic truss design for cable suspension of the floor.
NITEL Building, Lagos
NITEL Building has 32 floors and is so far the tallest building in Nigeria and West Africa. Located in Lagos, one of the features distinguishing this building from other skyscrapers in the city is the communications spire at the rooftop, which also acts as a lighthouse for Lagos Harbor.
It was initially the headquarters of Nigerian External Communications (NECOM). However, Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) later bought NECOM, and the building was subsequently renamed.
Although this building was completed in 1979, it still fits in with more recent buildings because the architectural style and materials, such as concrete, are still being used in modern buildings. The architect, Nickson, Borys & Partners created a timeless design that will outlive the building’s age.
Central Bank of Nigeria, Lagos
This building is one of the many stunning designs in Lagos. It has an L-shaped structure and measures 330ft. It has 19 floors, six of which are car parks. The rest of the floors are office spaces. The central atrium is the feature that stands out most, especially the top, which is higher than the rest of the building.
The atrium links four office wings, a 500-seater auditorium, and a service block that contains five standby generators. Completed in 2013, this building remains one of the aesthetic structures defining Lagos’ skyline. Julius Berger is the architect who revitalized this building with a modern design befitting the headquarters of Nigeria’s Central Bank.
The Central Mosque, Abuja
The Abuja National Mosque often features in itineraries of those doing an Abuja city tour. It is a popular tourist attraction site in Nigeria and is featured in the world’s top 50 most attractive religious centres. The golden dome and four minarets are distinct features that make this Mosque easy to spot, even when one is miles away. AIM Consultants Ltd were the architects behind this design, while Lodigiani Nigeria Ltd constructed the Mosque.
Milan Intercontinental Hotel, Lagos
At the height of 100m, this hotel is one of the tallest buildings in Lagos. It has 25 floors and is undoubtedly one of the structures that have significantly contributed to the physical architectural changes in Lagos, specifically Victoria Island.
This 25-storey building has two basements to serve parking areas for at least 300 cars. One of the challenges the architect, Design Group Nigeria Ltd, faced when designing this building was to ensure it fits with the environment, which was already developed. The blue and gold highlights on the upper floors are features that stand out and showcase the details that make this building iconic.