Lagos’ iconic ‘Floating School’ collapses during heavy rains


Residents of Makoko, a community on the Lagos lagoon have started rebuilding their iconic ‘Floating school’ which collapsed during a heavy downpour on Tuesday.

Although the school is said to have been built to withstand storms and floods, it succumbed to Tuesday’s heavy rains.

The three-storey pyramid-shaped school with room for up to 100 pupils was built from locally sourced wood and sits on recycled plastic barrels.

It was designed by Nigerian architect Kunle Adeyemi in collaboration with the Makoko Waterfront Community and completed in March 2013.

The aid-funded school offered free education to local children most of whose parents are fisherfolks.

A Makoko resident, David Shemede told the Reuters news agency that Tuesday’s “storm was very heavy” adding that “it is not only the floating school that collapsed. It collapsed many houses surrounding the floating school when the rain started”.

In a statement, Adeyemi who designed the school said the building had been out of use since March.

“Following its decommission since March, the structure has been out of use in anticipation of reconstruction” Adeyemi said.

The statement said “there were no casualties and the students had been relocated to the main school building since its decommission and pending reconstruction”.

Adeyemi said he was looking forward to the “reconstruction of the improved version” as the “prototype had served its purpose in time”.

The design for the Makoko Float School won Kunle Adeyemi awards including the Silver Lion Prize at the Venice Biennale and Design Museum’s Design of the Year award.

Makoko is a fishing village established in the 18th century with its structure built on stilts above the Lagos lagoon.

The community now faces threats from climate change and rapid urbanization as its population stands at nearly 100,000.



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