Government. People. Business.
(1) gravel (3) grassland (6) sandy
(2) construction (4) pave (5) rough
LOS: Delta Airlines. ABV: Lufthansa; British Airways.
Music + Society.
Heman Choir (Haleluya) 5:35
Ofege (Try & Love) 4:26
Nasir Ahmad (Dijengala) 4:20
Miriam Makeba (Chicken) 4:25
Don Williams (Imagine That) 3:07
Hamond, Charles (MD). Stallion House, Victoria Island, Lagos. (01)263-0138, 263-0131, 261-1892.
Eruchalu, C.N. (LLM)
Government. People. Business.
"The illusions of power must be unmasked, idolatry must be undone, oppression and exploitation must be fought, and all who participate in these evils must be confronted. This is compassion".
McNeill, Morrison & Nouwen.
Scale & the Built Environment
There are many historical discrepancies in life. We are told the first two-storey building in Nigeria was built by Reverend Townsend in 1845. As a residential building, it may have a place in Nigerian history. Just about everyone until then lived in one-level structures. There had however been several structures in Nigeria (and many all over Africa) almost as high, not to include towers or walls about 1845. Practically speaking, if a building is more than 3 storeys, it’s simply too tall. Safety is a major consideration with taller buildings, yet the general assumption is fire on an expansive scale as that of the recent Grenfell Tower in London would never take place.
36 killed in an Oakland Fire. 79 killed in a London Fire. Multi-Storey Building Collapse in Lagos. These are simple reminders that we are constricted by the human scale. The Burj Khalifa may be 200 storeys but this is not quite realistic. Down-to-earth is better. Fire engines are not always helpful. The elevator will get stuck. The sprinkler may not help. The ambulances are never enough. The stair case is good enough in a 2 or 3 storey. The challenge of housing 180 million people does compel multi-storey buildings, but how tall is too tall? This problem becomes more acute when the population doubles in about three decades.
The human scale is exceeded when human interaction is diminished or when the benefits of the artifact are less than the risk. The 32 storey NECOM House, formerly NITEL building (1979) in Lagos, likely the tallest building in Nigeria and the Cocoa House (26 storey, 1965) in Ibadan have being damaged by fire at some point, as did many others.
The developing world is adopting size standards from other countries which imperil them. Besides the fire, hundreds of people jump off multi-storey buildings every year. There are other psychological implications of living or working in skyscrapers. 5 to 8 stories should be the maximum allowed. The benefits will never exceed the risk when a person dies.
Despite regulatory constraints such as the International Building Code, the National Electric Code or Life Safety Code, fire can contradict human assumptions. Wind, malfunction or sabotage can complicate matters and firewalls and other mitigants may be less helpful. In Nigeria, every other building is also a fire trap with the so-called burglary proof or iron bars on windows.
A bank manager in Lagos went to church one Sunday morning thinking his house was secure with the burglary proof. He came back to discover a burglar had broken into it and taken his valuables. We are just beginning to have cranes in Nigeria which also present a safety hazard. There are enough losses from structural idealization. It’s too late to reduce population but limiting building height will do in this respect.
Alayande, J. F. (MURP, Pi Sigma Alpha)