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Winners of the A3-Archnet Prize for Writing on African Architecture Announced

Color photograph of the mosqueFollowing the jury’s decision to split the competition into undergraduate and graduate categories, Muhammed Gbolahan Madandola’s essay on the Great Mosque of Niono, Mali has been chosen as the winning essay in the first A3-Archnet Prize for Writing on African Architecture. Enwonwu Chiagozie, 21 is the undergraduate winner for her essay on Egedege N’Okaro, Benin Kingdom.

Entrants into the contest were asked to discuss their favorite building in Africa. The competition attracted entries from throughout Nigerian, as well as some Nigerians resident abroad. In response to the number and quality of entries the jury decided to consider undergraduate and graduate essays in separate categories.

Photographs of the prize winners

Muhammed Gbolahan Madandola (left) is the winner of the 1st A3-Archnet Prize for Writing about African Architecture, graduate category. Enwonwu Chiagozie Mitchelle (right) is the undergraduate winner.

Madandola, 27, is a graduate student at the Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Qatar, and is a researcher on themes relating to art, architecture, and urbanism. His interests include the African architecture, sustainable environment, Islamic architecture, heritage and building conservation and urban intervention. Enwonwu, 21, is working on a Bsc in Architecture at the University of Benin, Nigeria.

Second place is awarded to Adefolatomiwa Toye, 22, a graduate student of architecture at the University of Lagos, for her essay on Lagos Central Mosque, Nigeria. Tolulope Olowoye, 35, currently enrolled in the Master of Landscape Architecture program at the University of Lagos receives honorable mention for her entry on Mapo Hall, Ibadan.

Ogunsetan Abdullah, 19, a student of architecture at the University of Lagos, Nigeria came 2nd place for his essay on Ode Omu Mosque, Osun, Nigeria; and Grace Izinyon, 21, currently studying for a BA in Architecture at the University of Westminster, UK received honorable mention for her entry on Makoko Floating School, Lagos.

“The A3-Archnet Prize for Writing on African Architecture was created to identify a selection of researchers to help will jump-start the digital documentation of Nigeria’ built heritage and form part of the A3-Archnet team for this purpose,” according to Nigerian architect Baba Oladeji, Founder of A3: Archives of African Architectures. “The A3-Archnet collaboration will lay a foundation of A3’s longer term goal of creating documenting architectural heritage so that a future crop of architects in Africa will be armed with knowledge of their forbears and the important structures they created,” he added.

“There is a real lacuna of documentation on the rich architectural heritage of Africa, especially the region from the Sahel to the south,” Michael Toler, Content Manager of Archnet in the Aga Khan Documentation Center of the MIT Libraries (AKDC@MIT). “I have been working to address this issue on, so when Baba Oladeji approached us about collaborating, I was eager to do whatever we could to help this effort,” he added.

The jury will provide feedback to all the participants in the competition, and offer them the opportunity to revise their essays for publication online in the near future. Watch for announcements on the social media of A3 and the Aga Khan Documentation Center. This initial stage in the collaboration is partially supported by a grant from MISTI: MIT Science and Technology Initiatives.

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