After 25 years of operating as an architecture and design consulting firm in Nigeria, Ato Architects gathered friends and industry players to celebrate what it called ‘design excellence’ and also unveiled its new office complex in Lekki, Lagos.
From a humble beginning on the 6th floor of the Cooperative Bank building, Marina, Lagos, Ato has moved up the ladder to its own purpose-built office building with new studios aimed at not only enhancing performance, but also adding value to their clients’ needs.
At the company’s inaugural lecture, which was a major highlight of the anniversary celebration, John Godwin who spoke on the topic ‘The wow Factor as a Metaphor for Excellence’ lamented the diminishing prominence of the architectural profession in favour of glossy and shallow ‘Do It Yourself’ alternatives by flashy non-professionals.
Godwin, an architect and professor, noted that this trend has resulted in buildings that are unresponsive to the environment, non-functional and physically unsustainable, adding, “buildings constructed by these non-professionals typically elicit the exclamation, ‘wow!’ upon first encounter but mask deeper unresolved problems underneath; this trend is a problem spanning beyond the shores of Nigeria to professional practice globally”.
In his remarks at the event, Ayoola Tokunbo Onajide, Ato Architect’s principal, thanked God for his enablement, explaining that they did not expect that in 25 years “they would have done so well”.
The climax of the anniversary celebration was the unveiling of new Lekki office where guests toured the building and viewed an exhibition of selected projects from the firm’s rich and varied portfolio of work in the last 25 years.
The well attended event attracted members of the executive council of the Nigerian Institute of Architects Lagos State Chapter (NIALSC), represented by the chairman, Ladi Lewis and Vice chairman, Titi Adeleye.
Also present were the two past presidents of the Association of Consulting Architects Nigeria (ACAN), Fred Coker and Roti Delano, among other dignitaries.