Discussing the Design: SAOTA Speak on Their Proposed Design for the Academy of Excellence in Lagos

In this video, SAOTA give some insight into their proposed design for an educational institution / training campus in Lagos which seeks to push the boundaries of design. Their scheme employs a creative approach to massing and the use of form to create an efficient development that is bold in form and practical in function.

The Academy Of Excellence is an educational institution. The client, a large Nigerian bank, needed a training facility in Lagos where they could bring staff from around the country to a single training point. The idea was to create a world class institution that allows people to stay in a residential campus with their lecturers in a set of spaces that would embody the culture and values of the bank – a campus integrated into the social and cultural fabric of the city.

Lagos has unique challenges. It is one of the world’s fastest growing cities, with a population of about 20 million, mostly made up of people who came to pursue a better future. The city is ever changing, fast and forward looking. We wanted the project to reflect and draw on this energy using new forms, material and patterns whilst being a concrete representation of the idea that the future can be different. One of the bank’s core values is the idea that tomorrow can be different to today; a powerful theme in Africa’s reemerging societies and economies.

As the project’s needs far outstrip what the city authorities are able to service, it will provide its own power, water, and drainage and sewerage treatment plant. The private facilities are elevated above the raised public plinth. The two lighter residential buildings are suspended over the plaza, optimizing ocean views and creating shading over the landscaped roofs in an otherwise harsh environment. Keeping people out of the sun and monsoon rains was also a key design element. The development includes dining and recreational facilities spilling out onto the central plaza level and surrounding gardens. Shaded public areas encourage outdoor student socializing, activities and study workshops.

The ground floor consists of centralized basement parking and services, with the Auditorium and Educational buildings on ground and first floors. The second floor is the planted roof level, with residential areas located on the third to sixth floors. The design incorporates sufficient natural ventilation combined with shading elements, rainwater collection and the use of photovoltaic systems. The buildings are reduced in width to allow the optimum natural light (lux) level combined with the double glazed windows to reduce heat gain.

Other sustainable approaches include motion and lux sensors to control and minimize artificial light and air conditioning use, and grey water recycling. Locally sourced materials and labour will be used to promote the local economy and the culturally rich communities surrounding the development. By means of innovative design solutions and construction methods we aim to reduce the environmental impact. Students and staff using the Academy of Excellence will be encouraged to cycle and/or walk as clear walkways and bicycle paths will form part of the development. The planted roofs and landscaped plaza level provide solar shading and create a purer environment by absorbing carbon dioxide and giving off oxygen. The design embodies a timeless icon that relate to the prestigious financial institution it represents.


  • Architects: SAOTA
  • TEAM LEADERS: Greg Truen, Phillipe Fouche
  • PROJECT TEAM: Danielle Reimers, Ludwig Chambers, Kerian Robertson, Sharne Vermeulen
  • Rendered by: 3D Ginger Studio
Subscribe to stay updated on featured projects, design news and insights across Africa.

I have read and agree to the privacy policy