3-Story Floating School in Nigeria Rides on Recycled Barrels

floating school

256 plastic barrels support this multistory marvel, which stands up and out even amid a sea of buoyant and stilted architecture in this fishing village alongside Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city.

floating school in contexts

floating school and boat

Nominated for a Designs of the Year 2014 award, the structure accommodates up to 100 students and serves as a community space when school is out. Children, parents and other guests arrive and depart this offshore center exclusively by boat.

floating platform barrel prototype

floating structure bridge city

In visiting the structure, surrounding residents get to experience relief from the dense adjacent stilt-supported sprawl, as well as higher views than most of the single-level homes in the area can afford.

floating school concept diagram

floating building wood frame

A collaborative pilot project spearheaded by NLE, a group focused on the architecture of developing cities, the Makoko Floating School is a working prototype designed to address local needs “in view of the impact of climate change and a rapidly urbanizing African context.” 

floating school broad view

floating school in context

floating school zoomed aerial

A simple wooden stick-frame approach made it possible to construct the building inexpensively, using largely local building techniques and upcycled materials. The project’s “main aim is to generate a sustainable, ecological, alternative building system and urban water culture for the teeming population of Africa’s coastal regions.”