The Makoko Floating School, located just outside of Lagos, Nigeria, has collapsed, local source NAIJ.com reports. The award-winning design by Amsterdam- and Lagos, Nigeria– based firm NLÉ was structurally compromised after the country's largest city experienced heavy rainfall and flooding on Tuesday, devastating its wooden, triangular frame as well as its foundation, which consists of 256 recycled plastic drums. No casualties related to this incident have been reported, as no one was inside of the structure at the time of its collapse.
The three-story building was designed to house 100 primary school students from Makoko—an underserved neighborhood outside of Lagos, Nigeria, that is characterized by its stilt-supported residences. Although construction was temporarily brought to an abrupt stop in 2013 by the Lagos state government, whose former infrastructure commissioner said the project "is an illegal structure and [the school] shouldn’t be there," according to NAIJ.com, the project was conceived as a solution for the flood-prone area and served its purpose as a school until last March.
Legality aside, Makoko Floating School appeared on the 2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture shortlist and a recreation of the structure received a Silver Lion award at 2016 Venice Biennale last month. Currently, the firm is finishing up its Summer House structure, in conjunction with BIG's Serpentine Gallery Pavilion reveal, which will be available on June 10.
In an official statement released this morning, NLÉ's founder Kunlé Adeyemi said the school had "served its purpose in time" and that he looks forward to constructing an improved prototype. Read the full statement below.
NLÉ's statement from June 8th, 2016:
“After 3 years of intensive use, and exceptional service to the community, the first prototype structure Makoko Floating School has come down on June 7, 2016. Following its decommission since March, the structure has been out of use in anticipation of reconstruction. We confirm that there were no casualties and the students had been relocated to the main school building since its decommission and pending reconstruction.
NLÉ, Makoko waterfront community and potential stakeholders were already considering the upgrading of the structure with a copy of MFS II - a new, improved iteration, which was recently launched at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia. The project was awarded the Silver Lion prize for "a powerful demonstration, be it in Lagos or in Venice, that architecture, at once iconic and pragmatic, can amplify the importance of education."
NLÉ principal Kunlé Adeyemi said: "NLÉ and Makoko community greatly appreciate the concern and support received from so many people following the news alarm about Makoko Floating School. We are glad there were no casualties in what seemed like an abrupt collapse. The prototype had served its purpose in time and we look forward to the reconstruction of the improved version amongst other greater developments of the community."
August King is an editorial intern at ARCHITECT.