Nigerian Architect Post COVID-19
This virus' resilience makes it deadly. The architect must be even more resilient as we emerge into a Post COVID-19 world

Nigerian Architect Post COVID-19

Nigerian Architect might ask why a Post COVID-19 Blog?

Nigerian Architect Post COVID-19? This cannot be understated. The idea of writing a blog on COVID-19 for most of us is a no-brainer, as all of us are directly affected by this pandemic. As a lecturer, COVID-19 brings the issue of distance learning to a fore to me. Distance learning will become necessary to sustain architectural education. Just 6 weeks ago, I was developing my electronic lectures  for my convenience. Today COVID-19 puts me under pressure to prepare on- line lectures  before universities resume. Consequently as a Nigerian architect post-COVID-19, I must demonstrate resilience.

Nigeria architects resilience Post COVID-19
This virus’ resilience makes it deadly. The architect must be even more resilient as we emerge into a Post COVID-19 world

 

As a researcher, I love charting trends and engaging my students on the latest global issues that affect the Nigerian architect. COVID-19 is an unfolding issue that I am struggling to keep up with  daily.

Nigerian Architect Resilience Post COVID-19: The Unlikely “Brief”

In architecture, a brief is a statement of a client’s requirements, which forms the basis for appointing an architect. By redefining personal space zones, the architect is creating a proactive  response to the peculiarities of this virus.  This is because a major way of circumventing the spread of COVID-19 is through  maintaining  social distance and safety zones.  The Nigerian architect should take a proactive posture of resilience  in response to a Post COVID-19 world “brief”.

The Architect a Prophet?

Frank Lloyd Wright said, “The architect must be a prophet… if he can’t see at least ten years ahead don’t call him an architect”. I am not sure any of us architects saw this coming. In the medical world however, scientists had anticipated corona virus pandemics and possible solutions in the past ten years.

Much ado about Social Distance

How do we address the architect’s dilemma of maintaining social distancing design resilience in a Post COVID-19 Nigeria? A reactive Response? Much  of what is on social media suggests a reactionary rather than proactive posture to this pandemic. I believe that we should look beyond the clampdown on conspiracy theories of 5G which are the rave at the moment. We could probably start with a redefinition of Edward T. Hall’s  four zones of personal space. The challenges of social distance and spatial adaptability are of paramount importance in a Post COVID-19 world.

Nigerian architect resilience Post COVID-19
The original concept of personal space must be adapted to address Post COVID-19 realities

Nigerian Architect Resilience Post COVID-19: Homegrown Proxemics

As Nigerian architects, its vital that we address the reality of social distancing within our cultural context. The world of  Hall (1969) was much smaller in population and less diverse. Consequently, the concerns were mostly euro-centric without much thought to the diversity of cultural proxemics. The four personal zones should be updated to address Nigeria’s cultural diversity.  The zones must also be updated to handle Post COVID-19 realities. However, our sheer  population figures work against the achieving the ideal social zone or distance.

Nigerian architect resilience Post COVID-19
The Nigerian architect must demonstrate resilience in the redesign of Post COVID-19 public spaces

 

A Case Study of a Bank

A nameless bank I visited just before the lock down limited the numbers of people accessing the banking hall at a time. Unfortunately, they did little or nothing to address  the teeming masses waiting for their turns outside. As social engineers, we can address these phenomena through design. We must also consider the use of virus resistant  barrier materials. This consideration is important especially in the provision of ATM galleries, customer service  and  teller points. It is equally important in the timed movement through the automated means of ingress into the banking hall.

Noah’s Ark and Dinosaurs!

It seems difficult to see light at the end of the long tunnel. As a result, we must be able to conceive alternative possibilities. It’s hard to believe in dinosaurs.  However, there’s ample evidence to support they once  roamed the earth. Alternative possibilities require architects to  be proactive like Noah was. Imagine working on a large structure for 120 years on dry land far away any water body with no rain in sight! Yet Noah built the flood resilient structure known as the ark. A triple decker structure to house a large and diverse human and animal population for a little over a year  while it rained cats and dogs for 40 continuous days (no pun intended).

I believe progress will come through this experience by God’s grace. This is because  clear mindedness and resilience is a must. Like the ark delivered Noah’s family from extinction. We really have no choice but to be resilient. We cannot afford to be like the dinosaurs which became extinct. Perhaps because they lacked resilience?

Dr E.O. Ola-Adisa

Erekpitan Ola-Adisa is a US trained architect and researcher domiciled in North Central Nigeria. She combines practice of Architecture where she's actively involved in construction waste recycling and lecturing at the University of Jos, Department of Architecture for almost 20 years. As an architectural theoretician she seeks to demystify the "mysterious forest of Architecture" by getting the students to see both the forest and the trees using Gestalt principles. Equally important is her advocacy for best practices in Architecture to ensure viability of Architecture as a knowledge-based profession against Post COVID-19 realities.

This Post Has 33 Comments

  1. Succint, Really enjoyed reading through

    1. Thank you Daniel. Resilience is necessary for everyone and we may need to reinvent ourselves Post COVID-19. Yourself inclusive

    2. Very timely or better still forecasted thesis. The segment of Noah and the dinosaurs present another vague rendition and concludes as an unfinished fiction.

      1. Thank you for your observations. I am taking a closer look at Noah and the dinosaurs in an upcoming blog

    3. Thoughtful write up ma.
      As an advocate of green architecture, your thoughts on post covid analysis impact on Architecture is legendary.
      As a free Lance writer too I have a lot to learn from you.
      Thumbs up.

      1. That’s kind of you. I wouldn’t say my writing is legendary. I strive and am still striving to excel.

        I’m looking forward to seeing your writing soon

  2. The piece is entirely enriching, more grace ma

    1. Thank you for your kind comments. As a fresh graduate, I believe COVID-19 will feature very prominently in your future. A Post COVID-19 resilient graduate could bring the needed innovation at this time

  3. This is really deep..
    I enjoyed reading it.

    1. I’m pleased and look forward to your contributions to future posts

  4. I am extremely humbled by this immense dedication, of yours to me, over my modest contributions, my dear Dr. Erekpitan Ola-Adisa.

    From the trend of your thoughts , research output and publications, your PhD being a most outstanding product of those inputs, I knew you were cued towards proxemics. I am proud to have recognized that trend early in your works.

    This is an area that has occupied a substantial part of my research in behavioural studies in the built environment since the late 1980s. It’s obvious that we’ll be ‘crossing swords’ for the challenges posed by the COVID 19 inevitably. Congratulations.

    Prof. Z. A. Uji

    1. Prof, you’re too modest. Your discourse on building collapse and your design of interlocking blocks as a solution to transitional and even permanent housing for the IDPs has been a greater inspiration than you could ever imagine. Your ability to give deep thought and proffer solutions to issues that the average person would consider briefly and dismiss is what has inspired a lot of us younger colleagues to seek answers to otherwise daunting problems. After all an architect’s true vocation is problem solving!

  5. An excellent blog post. The Nigerian architect has slowly diminished in relevance to the evolving nature of the building industry.
    COVID 19 has shown the path of A. I in the nearest future and the need to adapt planning modifications that suits this century

    1. Spot on. This era is a golden opportunity to put the profession back on the map globally and to take our right of place locally

      1. Very insightful blog Ma! Emphasis on the importance to predict and incorporate future needs into present spacial needs of buildings cannot be over emphasized as you rightly pointed out quoting FLW.
        In reaction to the current pandemic, a particular post making rounds on social media under the hashtags staysafe, stayhome says, “Until now, the best vaccine for covid-19 has been made by architects which is home”. This in a subtle way goes to prove the prime importance of architecture in our world today hence buttressing your thoughts Ma, on the need for Architects to react proactively to the post covid-19 era!

        1. Thank you for your kind comments, the stay home hashtag is a good foundation to build on. However, this makes the assumption that home is built to standard specifications as dictated by good architecture practice. For much of the world, home is a makeshift settlement and this calls for a post COVID-19 need for Nigeria to address her over 17 million housing deficit! This is against the backdrop of the millions of IDPs who’s current “homes” are anything but sweet.

  6. That part you quoted Frank Lloyd Wright it got me to think so deep. Thank you for this timely article.

  7. Only an Architect think for both the current, the future, resolve for both human and the environment.

    1. Succinctly put. Your response is both inspiring and also a reminder of who an architect really is in an increasingly changing world.

  8. You have been a great role model and a substantial influence to our study of Architecture. You are outstanding and have provided the wind beneath our wings as we seek to soar higher. Thank you always, Ma.

    1. These are very kind words. I pray that my writings affect you and others of your generation to make a difference in the discourse that must happen to ensure that Architecture remains relevant through resilience in these troubled times

  9. This is an interesting read.

  10. Wow! This is deep, I would say! Your write up is apt and on point considering the prevailing circumstances the entire world is going through.
    Thank you for your passion, enthusiasm and dedication in sharing what many people; Architects may find to be unnecessary. Your positive attitude and in-depth explanations as broaden my horizons to a whole new concepts.
    The Architect is as important as the medical experts who are presently in the front line fighting for the lives of mankind against this COVID-19 pandemic!
    We have a job to do!

  11. Beautifully put together ma, I enjoyed myself reading through. I see post covid-19 architecture having a lot of flare & creativity especially in the area of social distancing & good hygiene practices in built environments.

    1. Well put Robert. As architects we are best suited to determine what constitutes best practices in spatial provision Post COVID-19

  12. We’ll put ma, it really got me thinking out side the box, linking architecture with the current pandemic…well written!

    1. Thank you for your comment. Ultimately every 21st century Architect must learn to think out of the box like FLW who was a 19th century born architect who worked in the 20th century but is still relevant today!

  13. Wow! Deep and apt!
    Ma, thank you for your passion, dedication to research and sharing what many people; Architects may express naivete. Your positive attitude and in-depth explanations for this aspect of architecture is enriching.
    As Professionals we are as important in the fight against this COVID-19 pandemic and the likes as our medical professionals who are presently in the front line.
    We have a job to do!

  14. Indeed these will improved our vocabulary through architectural terms, via the e-learning platform.

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