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An Art School in Enugu

Part 2 Project 2021
Finian Reece-Thomas
Kingston University Kingston | UK
This project has developed from a reading of the novel Purple Hibiscus by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie. Set in post-colonial Enugu, Nigeria, the book tells the story of a country troubled by its hierarchical power structures such as those of politics, religion and the family unit. The inherent tension between tradition and modernity is explicated through the protagonist, Kambili, who finds liberation from her complex childhood environment in the progressive household of her auntie. This project, set in an imagined future on from the book, sees characters of the story establish a non-hierarchical institution for the teaching of creative disciplines in Enugu.

The proposal sees the radical reuse of an existing 1960s tower, transformed into a new institution for the teaching of art in central Enugu. The architectural language of the project has explored ideas of textiles and weaving in both an attitude towards space as well as towards the tectonics of the building fabric - an approach guided by the challenging climate of south eastern Nigeria. Informed by both the pre-colonial palaces of western Africa and the compound house typology specific to much of urban Africa, the school utilises low embodied carbon materials and employs a range of passive environmental strategies to construct a spatially fluid and environmentally sustainable institution that provides the infrastructure for a new form of cultural reproduction in Enugu.

Finian Reece-Thomas

Andrew Clancy
Laura Evans
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