Rebel Architecture

Kunle Adeyemi: Inspired by developing cities

The Nigerian architect is pioneering sustainable floating buildings in the informal settlement of Makoko in Lagos.

Nigerian architect Kunle Adeyemi has designed buildings and furniture across the world. After studying architecture at the University of Lagos, where he began his early practice, he joined the world-renowned Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) in the Netherlands in 2001.

At OMA, working closely with founder Rem Koolhaas, he led the design, development and execution of numerous projects in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

I am constantly inspired by solutions we discover in everyday life in the world's developing cities.

by Kunle Adeyemi

Then he went it alone and founded an architecture and design company called NLE, which means ‘at home’ in Yoruba, the language of Africa’s first truly urbanised population.

His main area of interest is in developing cities of the global south. He believes that developing cities are the home of global advancement, and that they will provide the sustainable solutions necessary for the challenges posed by this century.

Kunle Adeyemi is pioneering floating buildings to solve the issues of flooding and land occupation that affect hundreds of thousands in Nigeria and other African coastal cities, including the 85,000 residents of the Makoko slum in Lagos.

His studio has come up with an easy-to-build, low-cost, sustainable prototype for a floating building – one of which is already being coveted by an overcrowded school in the area.

Adeyemi is 2011 Callison Distinguished Visiting Lecturer of the University of Washington, teaching and researching ‘The Modern City in the Age of Globalisation’ in Chandigarh, India’s first planned modern city.

For more on NLE and Makoko Floating School:


Makoko Floating School:

Follow NLE on Twitter @NLEWORKS and Facebook