"Instead of fighting water, we want to learn to live with it," says Kunlé Adeyemi, a Nigerian architect behind Makoko Floating System (MFS).
The MFS is "a simple way to build on water by hand".
Lagos and the sand filling of Lagoons
Ekoko, a former chairman of the Nigerian Environmental Society, Lagos Island Chapter, said:
“I want to use this opportunity to remind the state government that climate change is real, the world over.
“The sea level is increasing as a result of the melting ice and that is why the issue of flooding is becoming very, very dangerous."
Similarly, a former surveyor-general of the federation, Prof. Peter Nwilo, advised the state to stop construction and all sand filling works around Lagoon and waterfronts.
He was reacting to the massive flooding in the state, especially around Lekki, Victoria Island, Ajah, Ikoyi and Lagos Island, following torrential rainfall.
Floating architecture: Why fighting the water when you can live with it?
While the government was "fighting" the water, a community in the city, Makoko, is conveniently living with it.
Makoko is Lagos slum that "sits on stilts above the waterline" and "navigated by canoe".
The "innovative and resourceful living" in Makoko inspired Architect Adeyemi's Makoko Floating System (MFS).
The MFS was designed to address the key issues faced by major world cities such as rapidly expanding urban development and the impacts of climate change.
"It is a prefabricated, modular, floating A-frame, sustainable timber structure that can be locally produced, assembled and disassembled, quickly and manually for developments on water, in advanced or developing regions around the world."
The first prototype of the MFS tagged MFS I was created in 2012: Makoko Floating School.
MFS I: Makoko Floating School
Makoko Floating School was built for the Makoko community which inspired the MFS initiative.
It was a floating school built to withstand storms and floods and educate children from the slum.
The aim of the project is to generate sustainable, ecological, alternative building systems and urban water cultures for the teeming population of Africa’s coastal regions.
Sadly, it collapsed seven months after its official opening. According to Reuters, the wooden school was brought down by heavy rains.
However, Architect Adeyemi, the founder of NLÉ, explained that the building collapsed "due to deterioration resulting from a lack of proper maintenance".
With lessons learnt from the MFSI, Adeyemi improved on the initiative and took it outside the shores of Nigeria with the next stage tagged MFS II.
From Lagos to Venice, Italy: MFS II – Waterfront Atlas (2016)
MFS II was designed to suit local conditions and a wider waterfront population. It was assembled in 10 days by 4 builders and was exhibited as WATERFRONT Atlas at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.
It is mobile, deployable, and prepared to be reassembled at the next Waterfront.
The project was awarded the Silver Lion prize.
Next Level: Makoko in Belgium: MFS III Minne Floating School (2018)
The MFS III was designed as a fully prefabricated, modular, flat-pack, floating building system. It has a 25-year design life, based on Euro codes for wider regional use.
It is located in Bruges in Belgium.
MFS IIIX3: Makoko goes to China - Minjian Floating System (2018)
MFS IIIx3 is the fourth prototype and third iteration of the Makoko Floating School. It is in Jincheng Lake in Chengdu’s new ecological belt.
MFS IV: Makoko back in Africa - Floating Music Hub, Cape Verde (2020)
This is an exciting project that has been listed by CNN as one of Africa's most anticipated architecture projects in 2020.
It's listed as one of the transformative buildings set to shape the world in 2021.
Floating Music Hub, Mindelo is a cultural and creative platform located in the beautiful bay of Mindelo, in the island of São Vicente, CapeVerde, West Africa.
This design contains three floating vessels which will house a multipurpose live performance hall, a state of the art recording studio, and a food & beverage bar connected by a floating plaza.
CNN notes that it's the first time an MFS structure has been built in the Atlantic Ocean.
Unfinished business at home
In its 2016 report about the collapse of the Makoko floating school, Reuters stated that Architect Adeyemi said the Makoko community was considering upgrading the structure and rebuilding an improved version of the school.
With the success of the various iterations of the MFS across the world, the time is ripe to not only rebuild Makoko floating school but also expand the initiative in Lagos and possibly other parts of Nigeria.