The Evolution of Housing Designs in Nigeria

I am sure anyone will agree with me when I say there has been a significant change in the architectural design of buildings in Nigeria compared to what we’ve had in years past. This changes *not that we are complaining* can be attributed to many things including the state of the nation and the adoption of westernization along with the need to upgrade the system.

Nigeria is basically a unique country partly because of our cultures and traditions and partly because we are the most populous black country in the world. The country’s new generation of environmentalists such as Architects, Builders, Estate surveyors, Land surveyors and Urban and Regional Planners understand the need for buildings not to only be functionally effective, but also aesthetically beautiful.

Buildings of old were built to accommodate both the extensively large families they had including extended families and other functions such as shops as an additional source of income for the family.

The building types included  Bungalows, One storey buildings, two storey buildings and at most three storey buildings. The designs mainly depended on how large the family was but it also included the class of the patriarch or his position in the community and also how wealthy the family is.

Although this is very similar to what operates today, it is also different in so many ways. Most notable among them is that it seems like Nigerians have decided to reduce the size of some rooms in favor of the saying “less is more” which seems to be working out well for them. By reducing the sizes of such rooms, they have created a whole new avenue for certain newly imported ideas such as the gym, the viewing room, the laundry and other such rooms.

They also seem to have abandoned the notion of courtyards which was very popular in structures of old. The spaces are now being put to other uses such as pools, courts and many more. Impressive as these changes are, most notable is how Nigerians have been able to combine designs of old with new designs which combines functionally and aesthetics in an almost perfect symphony.

One of the most obvious changes that I have noticed is that builders are seeing the value of columns which not only supports the weight of the building but can also add a much needed ambiance to the building. I also like the way the country has started to embrace the green initiative i.e The aesthetic and the functional value of the plants. They give the house a sense of fresh air and they sometimes serve as breathing spaces where relaxation can take place or as I call it “a place to take a sip and watch the sunset”.

Another very notable feature is the different uses to which colours are being used by builders and owners,  long gone are the days when we only paint our houses with brown or cream or grey or some other monotonic colour. They have learnt to mix things up a little which gives the buildings a sense of longing and some,  have gone has far as using marble or brick instead of paints which helps them battle the need for continued re-painting of such property.

I am sure there are other notable changes that have escaped my sight, but i feel the Nigerian developers and Nigerians are seeing the need to keep updating our buildings to suit our new lifestyle and for the continued pursuit of beauty and functionality of our homes.

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