In Makoko, a sprawling slum on the waterfront of Lagos, Nigeria, tens of thousands of people live in rickety wood houses teetering above the fetid lagoon. It’s an old fishing village on stilts, increasingly battered by floods from heavy rains and rising seas.
Because the settlement was becoming dangerous, the government forcibly cleared part of it last year. Kunle Adeyemi, a Nigerian architect, had a better idea. He and his team asked what the community wanted, and with its help and money from the Heinrich Böll Foundation and the United Nations, he devised a floating school: a low-cost three-story A-frame, buoyed by about 250 plastic barrels, with a 1,000-square-foot play area, classrooms, rainwater collection and composting toilets. Made to serve 100 elementary-school children, the building provides a flexible and robust prototype for housing and other potential structures.
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Alex van Oost
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