Tuoyo Jemerigbe is the Managing Director/Principal of Studio OLA Ltd. With his distinct style, he contributes to the built environment and the expanding dialogue of architecture & urbanism in Nigeria. He has continued to develop several collaborations and partnerships with other local Architects, Designers & Practices towards the execution of successful projects. It was an astute session with him at the Creative Architects 2021.
With various case studies about those who have made a name by being exceptional in the profession, or ventured into other endeavours not limited to design and building, he discusses the diversity and niches in design practice. Here, he reveals how streams of opportunity abound in our environment, and taking advantage of them will be beneficial even for the architect.
Diversity is the state of being diverse or having variety.
As creatives, with the changing trends in our world, many of us will see ourselves evolving or wanting to evolve into other disciplines or other creative endeavours. This could be due to conditions, or to adjust with the changing trends in the society.
Kurt Hahn said – “ there is more in us than we know. If we can be made to see it, perhaps, for the rest of our lives, we will be unwilling to settle for less.
Architects who went beyond the traditional mode of architecture
There are few examples of architects who have gone beyond the traditional mode of architecture and dabbled into other areas of creative development.
- Rem D Koolhaas in partnership with Galahad Clark (a seventh generation shoemaker) started United Nude, a shoemaking company in 2003. With the company, they created an intersection where fashion meets architecture, developing unique shoes either via fragmentation or cantilever support amongst others. The MOBIUS shoe was the first. He has tried to introduce the insight from architectural education into the design and modelling of shoes.
- Peju Alatise (Artist) who was trained as an architect, became a brilliant and successful artist and author. She is a multimedia artist who also ventured into film and sculpture. She was selected as an exhibiting artist for the venice Architecture Biennale in 2020
- Jonathan Seagal is one of the most popular Architect developers. He redefines the role of the traditional architect by exclusively eliminating the client and developing, constructing and designing his own work. He has taken control of his project (designing, financing and building), and has gained a wide breadth of knowledge that he put into practice. He has an exceptional entrepreneurial approach to his work and a gift of combining business acumen with exquisite architecture.
Architects have always been diverse and innovative we see this in the likes of:
- Michelangelo – an Italian sculpture, painter, and poet of the high renaissance movement. He had an unparalleled influence on the development of western art.
- Leonardo Da Vinci – a painter, draughtsman, engineer scientist, theorist, sculptor, and architect.
- Raffaello Sanzio Da Urbino – an Italian painter and architect of the high renaissance.
- Thomas Jefferson – the 3rd American President. He was a lawyer, architect, musician, and philosopher.
- Ray Bernice Alexandra Kaiser Eames – the wife of Charles Eames, she was an American artist who was responsible for groundbreaking contributions in the fields of architecture, graphic design, textile design, film, and furniture.
- Buckminster Fuller – was an American Architect, systems theorist, author, designer, inventor, and futurist.
- Demas Nwoko – is a Nigerian artist, protean designer, furniture designer, industrial designer, architect, and master builder. He was a lecturer at the University of Ibadan and the publisher of the now-defunct ‘ New Culture’ magazine.
Tuoyo also talked about some notable figures like Ice cube, Bill Gayton, Samuel L Jackson, Seal, Tom Ford, and Courtney Cox; who left architecture to follow other career paths.
My personal Evolution
“I started off with my training in architecture and practiced doing a lot of internships at Integrated Projects and Design Collective. I did my youth service at James Cubitt Architects, practiced as an architect, space planner, and the likes before I started a partnership brand, then moved on to start my own practice – Studio OLA where we’ve done a few projects spanning residential. institutional, retail and commercial developments.
I’ve also had the opportunity to dabble into some entrepreneurial endeavours with a few business partners. We got a distributorship deal for a bathroom fittings and accessories company and opened a showroom in Ikoyi to sell/market and expertly design bathrooms, fittings, and products.
Doing something connected to my core endeavour was what I was drawn to. My entrepreneurial spirit has helped me gravitate towards other endeavours not limited to design and building projects…”
“My advice to everyone would be to explore your potential to the fullest. Don’t feel constrained or limit yourself to the dictates of the traditional profession. Many others before you have branched out into various creative endeavours. They did not limit themselves to the scope of architecture.”