Our visit to the Alter Native Artists Initiative (A.N.A.I) Compound in Lagos by Ade Shokunbi

In early November, we had the privilege of attending the official opening of the Alter Native Artists Initiative (A.N.A.I) compound designed by Nigerian Architect Ade Shokunbi.

A.N.A.I is a non-profit foundation dedicated to the promotion of the visual arts in Nigeria which was established by Nigerian contemporary artist Peju Alatise. Located on the beach front axis of Okun Ajah, off the Lekki-Epe expressway, the facility provides creative workspaces, exhibition spaces and galleries, a purpose-built residency, as well as a first-of-its-kind, ceramics studio aimed at reviving and developing the art of ceramics to a level compatible with international health and quality standards. 


The foundation aspires to become a custodian of some longstanding creative and cultural industries and practices in Nigeria, facilitating workshops, training programmes, discussion in the arts, while providing a platform for artists to experiment and engage their audience and encourage community participation.

Ade Shokunbi and Peju Alatise

The architecture of the buildings within the compound echo these ethos, crafted in a style I like to refer to as contemporary tropical architecture. From the use of local materials like tyrolene and bamboo, to the spatial volumes and how the relate to the site and its context, the architect was able to translate the vision of a creative space into functional and unique architecture. Double volume heights, deeply shaded fenestration, floor-to-ceiling louvre windows, collapsible walls of pivot doors. All elements that ensure thermal comfort (read cross ventilation) as well as optimally lit spaces for the artists to do their best work. The structures are themselves are akin to bold geometric sculpture, much like the art the foundation seeks to promote, with bespoke elements showcasing an expression of the artistic side of architecture along with the meticulous science that produces it. See for yourself via the images from our visit.

For more information on the Alter Native Artist Initiative visit www.anaifoundation.org and follow the conversation at @anai.foundation on Instagram and with #IntroducingANAI #ANAITalks

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