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Woven Ground

Part 1 Project 2022
Chelsea Richards
Kingston University Kingston | UK
Before Nigerian Independence in 1960, British architects Janes Drew and Edwin Maxwell Fry constructed the first Nigerian university, the University of Ibadan in 1948. Fry and Drew cast their modernistic ideals to fit the climate of Nigeria and named the style ‘Tropical Modernism’.

Their design, albeit robust and practical, lacks a cohesive language that reflects African daily rituals, traditions, and culture. This project investigates ways of decolonising the campus.

Ibadan is in the region of Yoruba, one of the largest ethnic groups in Nigeria. Traditional teaching methods include the production of craft, oral history, and folklore which were usually passed down through the community. Most teaching methods were eradicated during the colonial period and replaced with western philosophies.

This project proposes a space at the centre of the campus that is dedicated to the informal education of the Yoruba arts, spreading ideas and knowledge to the periphery.

The arrangement of the site takes influence from pre-colonial precedents and the traditional compound house typology that has prevailed throughout Africa for centuries. It promotes a communal environment and uses hierarchical systems that allow the distinction between public and private spaces. Encouraging students and professors to live, learn and work together.

Chelsea Richards

Nana Biamah-Ofosu
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