Inside Six Emerging African Architecture Studios in Lagos as Photographed by Olufemi Olaiya (Part 1 of 6)

Femi Olaiya – a renowned UK-based architectural photographer shares with us an exclusive look at his images capturing the studio experience of six emerging African architecture practices shaping the urban fabric of the city of Lagos.

Home to 22 million people and one of the world’s five mega cities – LAGOS is the financial capital of Africa. Though chaotic, Lagos remains progressive, and while its urban structure requires urgent intervention on many fronts; the life it exudes will always keep its light shining. As the popular saying goes ‘if you can make it in Lagos; you can make it anywhere.’ In spite of all of its shortcomings, Lagos has attracted many investors in the built environment. This has created an opportunity for emerging designers to make their mark and shape the Lagos of today and, even more importantly, the Lagos of the future.

This debut series focuses on six emerging architecture practices, each with a unique style and amongst the more progressive studios who seek to make a difference in shaping the Lagos of the future through, undiluted creativity, intelligent design and a the optimism to deliver good quality architecture despite the city’s chaotic urban structure. Here’s the first of the six featured studios;

UCAUrban & Contemporary Architects

  • No of Staff: 6
  • Year of Establishment: Jan., 2013
  • Website:
  • Studio’s previous Studio Use: Residential

UCAUrban & Contemporary Architects is a growing architectural practice based in Lagos, Nigeria with team of young, vibrant-minded architects, designers, artists and innovators of combined experience of over 45 years. The steady growth and expansion of the practice can be attributed to the expression of their desire to deliver top quality projects within the constraints of scope, time and cost to the satisfaction of all stake holders.

The practice is founded on the principles of people, interactions and flexibility. And though the strategic direction for development of the organization is determined by the partners from time to time, daily running of the firm and its projects is strongly dependent on the respective contribution of all members of staff. On each project, ideas are exchanged amongst a design team to establish the concept and theme that the project will take on, after careful consideration and review of the elemental parameters. Further immeasurable inputs from well-structured design meetings – formal and or informal – refine the ideas/concepts and set the platform on which the project is executed: overseen by a partner-in-charge and run on a day-to-day basis by a project architect.

About Femi Olaiya

Femi Olaiya is an innovative, creative and dedicated, Nigerian-born, professional photographer based in Portsmouth, in the UK. He studied architecture at the prestigious School of Architecture, University of Lagos, Nigeria. He relocated to the UK shortly after his post graduate studies to pursue a career in architecture.

Femi currently works as a certified BIM professional and architectural design manager on award-winning multi-million-pound developments as a key member of the Portsmouth City Council regeneration team. His architecture photographs have featured on the front cover of the largest commercial real estate magazine in the south of England as well as in renowned luxury building lifestyle magazine Porcelanosa. He has also had his fashion and portrait photography work featured in Vogue Italia.

Femi’s love for architecture photography was further reinforced when his historic Lagos family home Old Olaiya Building (Casa de Fernandez or ‘Ilojo Bar’) was destroyed in 2016. His biggest regret was that the memory of this important national monument – loaded with personal sentimental value for him and many Lagosians – was never frozen in time with professional photography and technical plans in a deferrable document for future generations to read about. He is determined to do everything he can to ensure that the same mistake isn’t made for the rest of Nigeria’s proud portfolio of nationally significant buildings.

Femi lives in the United Kingdom with his wife Yemisi and two daughters. Connect with Femi via pixpac studios and

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