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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Built heritage, computers and Nigerian design education Okany-Dimoriaku, Ifeyinwa Dominica

Abstract

Nigerian traditional architecture is becoming extinct. Unfortunately, the generation that would have saved the situation is passing away very fast. This calls for an urgent campaign of revival by documentation of the remaining architectural treasures, simulation of those that no longer exist and the dissemination of this material on a national basis. The objective of this research is to lay a foundation for Information Technology based studies in contemporary Nigerian traditional architecture to be conducted in schools of architecture in Nigeria. The aim of this work is to increase the emphasis laid on traditional architecture in the curriculum and to facilitate this study by introducing computers into Nigerian design. To this end, I conducted research in Nigeria in order to ascertain the level of incorporation of traditional Nigerian architecture in curricula of schools of architecture in Nigeria. Further, as part of my field study, I examined the obstacles to the computerization of schools. I also solicited for suggestions towards improving the situation. For this aspect of my research I combined the use of questionnaires and interviews. Heads of departments of architecture, faculty members, practising architects and students, either filled questionnaires, or were interviewed. In addition, I took pictures of interesting examples of Nigerian architecture - traditional, colonial and contemporary - for documentation purposes. The data from my field study was processed using the qualitative analysis method. I found from my investigation of the data that there was majority support for the incorporation of tradition into the studio design courses in Nigerian schools of architecture and that up till now, this area has not been sufficiently dealt with. I also found out that schools of architecture in Nigeria are at various stages in adopting this concept. In the area of computerization I was only able to find out the condition of two out of the three universities visited. This was a result of the fact that the Head of one of the schools I visited was not available to provide me with these details. The other two schools visited had acquired some computing facilities; however, these facilities were not adequate to cater for their educational needs. More effort needs to be made in the area of acquisition of computer facilities. The main obstacle to computerizing schools of architecture in Nigeria is funding. However, my respondents felt that by the joint effort of the school authority, students, the Nigerian Institute of Architects, architectural firms and philanthropists, the dream of computerizing schools of architecture in Nigeria can become a reality. Following the research a series of guidelines were developed, one for documenting traditional Nigerian architecture, another for system selection for schools of architecture in the process of incorporating computers into their curriculum. During the research, a sample studio design assignment which lays emphasis on traditional Nigerian architecture was acquired and forms part of the thesis. Finally, a collection of pictures depicting the historical stages through which Nigerian architecture has passed was compiled. This corpus will form a background for further research towards documenting traditional Nigerian architecture and propagating its cultural importance with the aid of digital media. The expected result of the introduction of tradition in design studio courses is that this will motivate in-depth study of traditional Nigerian architecture since the present generation does not know much about their architectural heritage. Hopefully, the outfall will be the creation of an identity for traditional Nigerian architecture in the 21st century. Furthermore, an awareness of the built heritage may be created among the next generation of young architects and students. To a large extent, this work can be accomplished by taking advantage of forthcoming introduction of the information technology and intelligently structured curriculum in design schools. This might equip the next generation of architects to be informed while contributing to building the new architecture which will not be based on imported international models. In addition, I hope that the result of my study on traditional Nigerian architecture will be made available on websites thereby making this information available both locally and internationally. In this age of globalization, the Internet is central to this campaign of popularising traditional Nigerian architecture. The expected outcome of this endeavour is that Nigerian Architecture will become culturally relevant again.

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