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The Pioneering Architecture of Nigerian Artist-Designer Demas Nwoko

A creative polymath, Nigerian artist-designer, Demas Nwoko, has had a long and celebrated career ranging from fine art to architecture. Although not professionally trained as an architect, he is heralded for having created buildings that have stood the test of time and are models of sustainability. He is a pioneer of Nigeria’s modern art movement, and his architecture is innovative while drawing on traditional African construction, belying his lack of formal architecture training (he prefers the title ‘artist-designer’). He is particularly known for developing mitigations for the tropical climate, promoting principles of sustainability decades before it came to dominate mainstream thinking, and influencing a younger generation of architects. Nwoko laments Nigeria’s reliance on the West for imported materials and goods and is committed to sourcing local materials and resources. Drawing on vernacular architecture across Africa, he applies ancient practices to solve contemporary problems.