Photo Credit: Mujib Ojeifo | Archdaily
Ade Shokunbi is a British-trained Architect with more than two decades of experience in the built environment both within and outside Nigeria. He is also a registered chartered architect with the Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON), and a member of the Nigerian Institute of Architects (MNIA). As co-founder and one of the directors of the Patrick Waheed Design Consultancy (PWDC), he has been involved in projects of various types and scales nationwide.
Using one of his recent projects as a premise for the discussion, he explains how reputable track records, relationships, interest, and personal motivation are necessary for building a productive partnership in architectural projects.
Fostering a Productive Partnership
The Abijo project started in 2013. Ade Shokunbi and his team were expected to provide a concept for the mosque. In 2019, PWDC was commissioned by the client (Crescent Bearers ) to design and build a mosque in Abijo. After going through a couple of iterations, they came up with a design that was suitable for the project.
However, the budget was unable to fund its implementation so they had to downscale for a more feasible execution. This birthed the opportunity to foster a partnership between himself and the client so they could build based on the original design which would better serve the community.
He later received an artistic license to develop a project that he had total control over. The delivery also led to a partnership with the artisans who helped to achieve the end result.
“The project served as a means to take being an architect to another level. It was an example of building relationships that enabled a level of confidence from the clients. It gave an opportunity for everyone to be in a win-win situation… We were able to move the goal post to achieve one of the best moments in the environment.”
“Going through this has proven that a way to improve on what is delivered to clients is having an understanding whereby one initiates a level of partnership that is beyond the norm of client-architect arrangements.”
- An equitable track record – Although the partnership was difficult to achieve initially, the fact that he had worked for some members of the Crescent Bearers contributed to the progress of the work.
- Leveraging on relationships – Those he had worked for in the past were able to vouch for him when other members of the group had doubts about his delivery.
- Alignment of Common interest – He and the Crescent bearers could agree that they had a common interest – achieving a successful project.
- Personal Motivation – He was personally motivated by the vision of the project, and this spurred him to push for the partnership and the successful completion of the Mosque.
There have been other projects that led to formidable partnerships. These partnerships provided long-lasting opportunities which would not have existed. One of such projects was the design of Peju Alatise’s residential studio – which also led to a partnership that was beyond the norm and helped him develop sensitivity towards a form of materiality that he had not considered.
“…They are aware of their own limitations and aim to compensate for them through productive partnerships and self-improvement.”