The floating school in Lagos

Makoko is a unique slum in Lagos. It is a community on water. For a time it was facing threats of demolition from the Lagos state government and the settlement came to international attention for the floating school – a three-storey timber structure on water.

Completed in 2013, the school on stilts was designed by Nigerian architect, Kunle Adeyemi, founder of NLÉ Works. It was built with the support of the Federal Ministry of Environment Africa Adaptation Programme, the United Nations Development Programme, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, Yaba Local Council Development Area and Makoko Waterfront Community. Since its construction, the project has received a lot of press and has won several architectural awards.

Read: Makoko Floating School, Nigeria

Sadly, its time in the limelight is over. Following heavy rainfall, the Makoko floating school collapsed on June 7. Thankfully, no casualties were recorded.

The collapsed Makoko Floating School. Photo: theguardian.com

The collapsed Makoko floating school. (Photo: theguardian.com)

What happens next?

Adeyemi said that the celebrated prototype building had been used intensely and had served its purpose.

“Being a first prototype, the structure was expected to have a limited lifespan with some maintenance,” Adeyemi told The Guardian. “It was no longer in use, shored and discussions were incidentally in progress by the community to bring it down this week and salvage some of its reusable equipment and materials.”

He also revealed that there are plans for the construction of a second Makoko floating school, which would be  an improved version of the first.

But the question is: what is the fate of pupils who used the classrooms? The building had been decommissioned and out of use since March 2016 and its students had already been moved elsewhere. Therefore there were no casualties at the time of the collapse  – educationally or otherwise.

When the new Makoko floating school is finished, it is unlikely that students would be anxious to return considering the fate of the first.

A view of Makoko community with the school in sight. Photo: NLE Works

A view of the Makoko community with the school in sight.( Photo: NLE Works)