Workshop method

Design of skills development workshops for women in Nigeria.

Empower women!

Filled with a variety of landscapes to mountain ranges, Nigeria is a diverse place. But problems like poverty, terrorism and corruption go far beyond natural interventions. This created a huge wave of unemployment throughout the place; affecting their only positive and promising source; the youth. Maybe due to its economic problems or the political ups and downs, there are many different issues that this place has faced over the past few decades. Due to the national unrest, it is difficult for the upcoming population to generate income or live effectively, and given their general status in society, Nigerian women lack even opportunities for basic education. Regarding these situational issues, which are mostly related to survival, there is a need to prioritize education in order to empower women in such situations.

What role can architecture play in this process of empowering women and how can it contribute to this process?

Currently, in this situation where there are almost millions of young people who are unemployed; A place where there are many ongoing crises; it is difficult for women to demand financial freedom.

Eventually suffering due to unequal treatment between the sexes and thus becoming a victim of domestic violence in the end. The lack of justice for women and the unrest have left women with their only support which is that of other women who are suffering in the same way. Given the multiple facets of the issue, there is a need for a space that will bring about social gatherings of women; while providing space for them to engage in activities that can help them achieve financial freedom.

Since the question has many angles, how will a physical intervention facilitate its change and how can this change be brought about by design? Through thought and creative spaces, can architects empower these women? Can a change of image towards women’s spaces contribute to their empowerment?

What type of design can best facilitate the diverse and multidimensional question?

Brief: The challenge was to design a space specifically for women in Nigeria, where they will practice skills development workshops and benefit from formal education.

The challenge here was not just to approach this issue from a singular perspective, but to respond to the needs of these women who are largely multifaceted. The design created should transcend its purpose of monetization and extend to the daily needs of these Nigerian women. Incorporating daycares, gathering spaces, skills workshops and classrooms into the design can help address the multidimensional nature of the problem.

The competition jury was made up of well-known designers, professionals and academics from around the world. The main jurors for the competitions were:

Dolapo Falola, Founding Partner, Urban & Contemporary Architects Ltd, Lagos, Nigeria

Femi Olaiya, Partner, Urban & Contemporary Architects Ltd, Lagos, Nigeria

Some of the best projects in the competition are:

Winning project: THE GARDEN OASIS

By: Sumeyye Atasayar, Zeynep Coşkuner & Feyza Ekim

Description: The objective of this project is to feel green in all areas and to reveal the existing potential of women. Field analyzes were done to design a “skills development center” for women in Abuja, Nigeria. As a result of the analysis, it was decided where the building will be directed. The design began with the decision of the mass location, directed to the katampe road, providing the most intense access to the land on one side, closed on three sides, referenced to the limits of the field.

People’s choice: AESTHESIS

By: Nisan Ari, Eda Nur Ulker, Pinar Kaya & kübra çınar

Description: This project is a set of units with an educational and social purpose for women in Nigeria, intertwined with nature and enhanced by sensory spaces. Kado is a town located in Abuja, Nigeria. Nigeria has six months in a row a dry climate and the other six months a lot of rain. The kado region is far from Abuja and it is a more rural area.


By: Beste Eser, OmerFaruk Karatepe & Sait K

Description: “Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress”. The project is inspired by local architecture, showing a sensitivity to African culture. He supports the empowerment of women by coming together. The women’s competence center includes locally relevant green solutions and materials. The goal of this project is to develop a model for solving social problems.

Editor’s Pick: Endow

By: İrem Gökduman & Yasemin Sahin

Description: The design for women to discover themselves. In the male-dominated society, they were given the opportunity to create their own colors. The units arranged in floors refer to traditional living spaces.

Editor’s Pick: Skills Center for Women in Nigeria

By: Ludwika Buczyńska

Description: The main idea is to create a space adaptable to the current needs of its users. Another important aspect is to refer to traditional Nigerian buildings which can be made using natural and local materials such as wood and laterite bricks. The functional program is divided into three main parts: educational, recreational and administrative.

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