• British Council Nigeria / Allies & Morrison

Architects: Allies & Morrison  
Location: Ikoyi, Lagos,
Project Team: James Cubitt Architects, Nigeria
Interior Décor: Allies & Morrison
Project Year: 2005
Photographer: David Grandorge
Website: www.alliesandmorrison.com

There’s no denying that the fastest way to appear on the world map today is through icons. Beyond signs and symbols, architecture has slowly become a form of establishing notable presence for organizations, governments and corporates worldwide. The challenge with branding is not only in harmonizing the client’s iconic vision with foreign markets but in achieving functional utility. When it comes to architecture today, context has become more than just a site; it requires knowledge of your client, urban design, typology, culture, meaning, natural resources and political will. As Pushkin says, ‘where common folk can identify with the design solution and “keep the path well-trodden”’. In an attempt to interrogate these elements, ArchiDATUM draws attention to the Lagos British Council idealism by Allies and Morrison. 

From the Architect:
“The client needed a building that conveyed openness, transparency and accessibility, while providing high-security arrangements for its occupants. The material palette of white rendering, exposed concrete and locally-sourced Iroko timber, with the majestic height of the facade, evokes both vernacular informality and the authority befitting a quasi-diplomatic institution. 

The new visitors’ building at the British Council in Lagos completes the reorganisation of the Council’s compound, and provides its public face. Meeting the potentially contradictory needs of openness and security, the building is set behind a semi-formal garden, with a street-front gatehouse controlling the landscaped route to the entrance colonnade.The double-height foyer opens onto this garden, from which all of the Council’s public functions are visible. The main frontage is defined by a timber screen which gives a sense of transparency while creating shade, enclosure and a strong backdrop to the garden.”

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