Architecture In The 21st Century Nigerian Economy: The Way Forward

by Mgbemena Kene

“The paradox of plenty”, “The curse of oil”, phrases employed by economists in referring to the co-existence of vast natural resources wealth and extreme personal poverty in developing countries like Nigeria. Political instability, corruption and poor micro-economic management have been the major causes of the decline in the almost famous Petroleum-Rich Nigerian economy. The economic reform programs by recent civilian administration (Obasanjo, 2003-2007) such as NEEDS is aimed at raisingthe country’s standard of living through variety of sub-reforms programs including: micro economic stability, deregulation, liberalization, privatization, transparency and accountability. The die is cast.

Architecture, which is concerned with the planning, design, and production of buildings either existing or new (Amole, 2004) and its role in this struggle: in which the Nigerian state seeks her rightful position in the emerging or already emerged 21st century global economy cannot be overemphasized since the quality of human habitat/environment is central to architecture. The demand on The Practice of Architecture is now and will be such that research needs to be raised to the level of everyday practice, if the profession is to retain its credibility or relevance in this paradigm shift. The diversity of clients, buildings and users group suggest that new conditions hitherto unknown to the profession indicates that stock experience will not be sufficient to answer the questions raised by these new environment and people (Amole, 2004). Therefore Architecture Education in the country has to rise to the challenge of equipping students with the knowledge and skills for solving environmental problems via research process. To foster the students creativity and strengthen their interest, motivation and commitment to improve the environment (Olotuah, Adesiji, 2006).

The objectives of the Architectural Education as reflected in the aspiration of the 3rd National Development Plan For Educational Progamme also stresses the importance of research opportunities appropriate to the development of natural resources and technological skills in meeting national demands. (FGN 1975).

Personnel in the two major division of Architecture in Nigeria: Architecture Education and Architecture Practice will agree on the following facts:

  • That progress in any discipline and profession is ultimately related to the quality and quantity of its engagement with the production of knowledge. The ability to refine and improve its knowledge base through the formal process of research is quite rewarding because it produces more knowledge which ultimately propel the discipline forward.
  • Most aspect of the much needed Architectural Research which will equip the profession for the 21st century is best carried out in academic environment and can successfully be introduced into the Profession Practice by proper interaction between Architectural Firms and various Schools of Architecture in our Tertiary Institutions.
  • Mutual interaction on continuous basis between the Practice and the Schools will certain enrich the quality of the membership of the profession vis-a-via the Professional Firms in coping with the demands of the First Decade Of The 21st Century.

With fifty-five years of Architecture Education, a forty-seven years old professional body, Ten Federal Government, Nine State Government, One Private (Covenant University), owned Degree Awarding Schools of Architecture. Nineteen Polytechnics and Colleges of Technology offering National Diploma in Architecture for architectural technician, (field study: 2003) and an estimated population of one hundred and forty million (census 2006). It is time for Architecture in Nigeria in this Global World to jettison the past in which Inadequate Staffing, Insufficient Research Facilities (which may still prevail in nascent Schools Of Architecture) were seen as the major problems in our system but analysis the present(the Influence of Globalization), and look into the challenging future and realize that the increasing gap between the School of Architecture and the Architectural Profession pose a great challenge, for how folly and helpless is the beginning without a vivid picture of the end.

There is therefore compelling reasons for a change process within the nation’s Architectural Landscape (Education and Practice) in order to effect a change around us (society at large).

As the Nation gears up to reposition herself in the world economy either via vision 2010 or 2025: just as the Asian tigers did before our very sleepy eye, we hope that in this struggle in which Architecture plays a vital role, where the goals and required effort may appear ambitious and the odds daunting, we shall succeed.


  • Amole B. 2004: Research In Architecture, Architectural Research: An Introduction.. pp7-9
  • Arayela O. (2001): An Introspection into Forty Years of Architectural Practice in Nigeria (1960-2000): The Way Forward. Architects and Architecture in Nigeria.pp91-106.
  • Balogun L: Forty Years of Architecture in Nigeria. Journal of the Nigerian Institute of Architecture. Vol 11, November 2001. p4.
  • Kuye T: Improving Architectural Practice in Nigeria, Journal Of The Nigerian Institute of Architecture Vol 11, November 2001.p 13.
  • Mgbemena K: The Future of Nigeria Architecture (1), article published on Design Page of the Guardian Life Magazine, October3-11, 2006.
  • Olotuah A.O., Adesiji: An Appraisal of Architectural Education in Nigeria, 2006.
  • St Mattew-Danial B.J: The Nigerian Economy In the 21st Century, a paper delivered.February, 2007

US Department Of Treasury: Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.: Advisory on transaction involving Nigeria, April 2002.

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Abdulazeez Yusuf April 11, 2011 - 2:47 pm

as a student of Architecture, i think he was able to show the importance of architecture in nigeria which would assist young archiectural minds.

malam January 3, 2011 - 1:30 am

Same old story, repeatition of what is already known, without a single suggestion. So what is the way forward?

Abduljabbar April 21, 2010 - 7:39 pm

As a student i think he has tried to point out the requirements or needs of architecure in mordern day Nigeria, for it to strive and compete with other architectural practices in the world

Kyon Albert November 19, 2009 - 8:16 am

it was actually good and true

ojo ayooluwapo paul June 12, 2008 - 7:08 am

ready to bring out the best of nigerian architecture

mohammed jimoh zibirin December 18, 2007 - 10:38 am

am an architect from my experience i think he is good in his presentation


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