The graduates of architecture from the University of Lagos under the banner of Unilag Architects Alumni Group have decried what they termed the ‘murder’ of iconic Afro-Brazilian building at the centre of Lagos Island at Tinubu Square.
The Olaiya House also known as Fernandez House which housed the Ilojo Bar built around 1855 and granted National Monument status after 100 years in 1956 was recently pulled own and this has prompted the former graduates of architecture from University of Lagos to initiate a programme to create awareness of the need and means of supporting national architectural heritage under the banner of the Olaiya House Group.
The alumni group is facilitated by Arc. Fitz Umah and Arc. Abimbola Ajayi among other graduate members of the University’s department of Architecture. The focus of the group will be to influence policy makers, enhance the practice of the profession, promote internal design competition among members, encourage the use of local materials for building to meet local needs,and recognition of present and former staff of the department among others.
Speaking on the Alumni Group and the imperative at a time like this, Arc. Dapo Akintunde said something had to be done to prevent wanton destruction of national monuments and iconic buildings.
“This spurred the Unilag Architects Alumni into action. Alumni from Nigeria, South Africa, UK and the US and other countries got together on the Whatsapp platform to map a plan of action and determined that a competition for a conceptual redevelopment would be a practical first approach.
“The Architectural Heritage Conservation group name “The Olaiya House Group” was added to the original set of imperatives primarily “to avoid wanton destruction of architectural history”. Thus the competition (see attached call for design solutions). Leadership for this group was provided by Arc Dapo Akintunde and Chi Iromuanya, Ph.D. It helped to have two scions of the Olaiya lineage: Chris and Femi Olaiya who are alumni of Unilag Architecture.
With intellectual support from the likes of Olubi Babalola, Ph.D,Tony Alabi, Ph.D. among others, and wisdom from veteran architects like Arc. Opa Ladega, the stage was set for the birth of ideas on how to fuse economy with heritage for the survival of both in the same spaces.”