Over the past 200 years, Lagos, Nigeria, has become crowded with architectural styles as wide ranging as its 16 million people. First, in the 19th century, came two-story stone houses in a Brazilian architectural style that coincided with the return of formerly enslaved peoples. The 1920s and ’30s saw a Portuguese-inflected form creep into the city. Then, with Nigerian independence in the 1960s, tropical modernism showed up with an influx of European architects and became the visual language for a new wave of nationalism.
Fast-forward half a century and a new architectural renaissance is sweeping Lagos, one that eschews the hodgepodge styles of yore for a minimalism embedded with a distinctly Nigerian twist. Tosin Oshinowo is part of the new generation of architects leading the charge, with buildings that prioritize methods and materials that are native to her country. “What makes our practice interesting is that we work within our context and try to find solutions that are available locally,” says Oshinowo. “It’s about innovation and using materials in an intelligent way.”