A high-rise for Africa's slums

Nigerian designer Olalekan Jeyifous envisions a multi-storey dystopia for Lagos’s poorest citizens
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Shanty Mega-structures by Olalekan Jeyifous
Shanty Mega-structures by Olalekan Jeyifous

The Nigerian capital has a population of 21 million, and that number is expected to double in the next 15 years. Nigerian-born, New York-based designer Olalekan Jeyifous has imagined what that could mean for the city’s poorest inhabitants. His vertical shantytown towers or Shanty Mega-structures as he calls them aim to alert the world to the plight of Lagos’s most deprived citizens.

Jeyifous envisages sprawling cylindrical structures, made Heath Robinson-style from those materials available in any slum neighbourhood: corrugated iron, plastic sheeting and various, assorted debris.

 

Shanty Mega-structures by Olalekan Jeyifous
Shanty Mega-structures by Olalekan Jeyifous

“These images juxtapose sites of privileged and much coveted real-estate throughout Lagos, Nigeria, with colossal vertical settlements representing marginalised and impoverished communities,” says Jeyifous, a Brooklyn-based artist and designer.

“The dispossessed are given prominence and visibility, albeit through a somewhat dystopian vision, which highlights that these communities often suffer from a lack of appropriate sanitation, electricity, medical services, and modern communications,” he adds.

 

Shanty Mega-structures by Olalekan Jeyifous
Shanty Mega-structures by Olalekan Jeyifous
 

While his concept may be an imaginary dystopia, there is at least a glimmer of hope in the recent realization of one similar project. For the floating community of Makoko, Kunle Adeyemi, founder of NLE Architects, has built a floating school.

This project and Jeyifous’s ideas are in sharp contrast to Lagos’ highly ambitious Eco Atlantic development, which its developers like to call Nigeria’s Manhattan. The land reclamation scheme at Victoria Island is intended to result in 10m-sq-m of mixed-use development including housing for 400,000 residents, and is being designed by MZ Architects and AR+H Architects.

 

Shanty Mega-structures by Olalekan Jeyifous
Shanty Mega-structures by Olalekan Jeyifous

For more on hopeful, futuristic architecture get MAD Architects book MAD Works; for more on how our cities work get Living in the Endless City. 


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