Fig: 1 - Education is recognised as a basic human right for all yet the literacy rate of women in Nigeria is lower than men due to socio-economic issues they face. (Credits: roleuk.org.uk)
Filled with a variety of landscapes to the ranges of mountains, Nigeria is a diverse location. But problems like poverty, terrorism, and corruption are much beyond the natural interventions. This has created a huge wave of unemployment across the place. Affecting their only positive and promising source; the youth.
Either due to its economical problems or the political ups and downs. There are a lot of different problems that this place has faced in the last few decades. Due to the national unrest, it's hard for the upcoming population to generate revenue or live efficiently, and considering their overall status in society, the women of Nigeria even lack opportunities for basic education.
Surrounding such situational issues, which are majorly related to survival, prioritising education is needed in order to empower women in such situations. What role can architecture play in this process of empowering women and how can it aid this process?
Fig: 2 - After leaving behind their ancient norms and traditions, women are stepping up to become financially independent to improve their living conditions. (Credits: IRENA)
Currently, in this situation where there are nearly millions of youth who are out of jobs; A place where there are numerous ongoing crises; it's hard for women to demand financial freedom.
Eventually suffering due to the inequality in gender treatment and thus becoming a domestic violence victim in the end. The lack of justice for women and the unrest has left the women with their only support which is of the other fellow women who are suffering the same. Considering the multifacetedness of the issue, there is a need for a space that will bring about social gatherings of women; while providing space for them to practice activities that can help them attain financial freedom.
Since the issue has many angles, how will a physical intervention aid as a facilitator in its change and how can this change be brought through design?
Fig: 3 - While formal education of girls is still a slow pace, informal learning and skill centres can give them the opportunity that they might have missed in their early life. (Credits: UNICEF USA)
Through creative thinking and spaces can architects empower these women? Can a change of imageability towards women's spaces, help in empowering them?
What kind of design can facilitate the diverse and multidimensional issue at its most?
Brief: The challenge aims to design a space specifically for the women of Nigeria, where they will practice skill development workshops and have formal education.
Challenge here is to not just address this issue from a singular perspective, but to address the needs of these women which are majorly multifaceted. The design created should transcend its purpose of monetisation and extend to the daily needs of these nigerian women. Integration of daycares, gathering spaces, skill workshops and classrooms in the design can help in addressing the multidimensional nature of the issue.
Purpose: Design must create a safe space for vulnerable women, with access to several amenities. It must promote interaction and learn with convenience.
Multi-functional: The centre must have a flexible design that is able to accommodate multiple activities of diverse nature.
Landmark: The visual impact must be exemplary with standout features.
Context: The design must respond to the (existing) site conditions. The wider socio-cultural, economic and environmental settings are to be considered in the design approach.
Kado, Abuja, Nigeria
Nigeria, a country located on the western coast of Africa. The demographic is diverse with multi-ethnic and multilingual populations migrating to the region. Nigeria has developed in the last years, as the majority of parts have urbanised while the rest remain rural and clustered home settlements. So, it is a progressing economy with lots of work still to be done to improve the condition of the living of the local people.
The site is located in Abuja, Nigeria. The capital city has been a site of many protests and movements for the advocation of women’s rights in the country. There are many initiatives underway to help women become independent by providing them employment and livelihood. The nutrition and healthcare of women is enhanced by their economic empowerment.
The site is surrounded by a neighborhood with industrial and institutional buildings. The site has open areas and upcoming residential projects adjacent to it.
Site Area: 3909 sq.m
Height limit: G+2 or 9 metres
FAR (Floor Area Ratio): 1
Ground Coverage: 30%
Coordinates: 9°05'36.3"N 7°27'57.9"E
Total number of users/women: 60
Learning and Educational spaces 45%
Classrooms, workshop spaces, Closed spaces for skill practising, Audiovisual/meeting rooms, Library
Recreation and other activities 40%
Daycare for the kids, Farming area, Main hall, Open area/courtyard, Therapy/well-being spaces, gathering space.
Administration and Services 15%
Offices, Meeting space, Cafeteria, Kitchen, Washrooms/toilets.
Other ancillary spaces can be added as per the participant’s design.