• Wednesday, June 19, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Olajumoke Adenowo, Nigeria’s star architect -CNN

Olajumoke Adenowo, Nigeria’s star architect -CNN

A multiple award winning architect, listed in AFK Insider as one of the 12 powerful African women in business to watch in 2015, described by CNN as the Nigerian star architect, featured in the world’s leading architectural publications, America’s Architectural Record Magazine, a multi talented speaker, combination of beauty and brains, a wife, mother, a mentor  to women through her weekly radio show and of course the principal partner of AD consulting and Founder, Awesome Treasures Foundation, welcome to the intriguing world of Olajumoke Adenowo, a true definition of a woman of substance!

Olajumoke Adenowo has been practicing architecture in Nigeria for more than a quarter of a century. Still, she became significantly better known when CNN named her “Nigeria’s star architect” in December, as part of a report on her Lagos-based practice, AD Consulting. The broadcast gave her a chance to talk about the state of African architecture, which she narrated eloquently.

Admitted to the University of Ife to study Architecture at the age 14, she graduated at 19 with a BSc. (Hons) and subsequently with a record breaking distinction in Masters of Science (MSc) in Architecture (a first in the several decades of the history of the Institution). While in the University, she won several faculty awards for her academic work including best student in design in the BSc. Hons and MSc. programs and best overall student, Best Housing Studies Student amongst several others. In 1991, she was included in the “Who will be who in the 21st century” (young achievers section) by the International Biographical Centre Cambridge, England. She is an alumnus of a number of prestigious institutions including the Lagos Business School Chief Executive Programme (2002) and The IESE Business School, University of Navarra, Barcelona, Spain (2005).

Read also: The changing dynamics of the telecommunications industry

As a chartered architect, she worked with leading Nigerian firms and at Femi Majekodunmi Associates where she had the privilege of designing the Federal Ministry of Finance, Abuja. She later started her own multiple award winning Architecture and Interior Architecture firm, AD Consulting with just 400USD in 1994 and has held the position of Principal Partner till date. The firm has gone from its small cubicle in central Lagos to 3 offices and is now recognised as the flagship boutique that pioneered Interior Architecture in Nigeria. AD Consulting, a boutique architectural firm providing bespoke interior design and architectural services to a discerning clientele, has executed the design and overseen the construction of over 70 outstanding projects for the Nigerian federal and state governments, multinational corporate organizations and private individuals. AD Consulting is the architect of note to MNCs such as Coca Cola International, L’Oreal, CRI, NGC, GTBank, amongst others. Possessing a deep understanding of branding, AD Consulting deploys design of the built space as a brand enhancer. AD has won several international awards for its designs and is the only Nigerian architectural firm recommended by the British Chamber of Commerce for architectural services in Nigeria.

In 1999, she founded Awesome Treasures Foundation to raise transformational leaders, its summits and other initiatives have attracted well over 50,000 attendees.

Watching Olajumoke on CNN during her interview was indeed inspiring. I couldn’t help but take notes as she spoke from her wealth and depth of intelligence and wisdom. I particularly admired her taking the viewers on tour of her first ever completed residential building in Lagos where she expressed to viewers that her love for it goes beyond the architectural design “I am an architectural psychologist and I am glad when my clients allow me express myself.  For this residential structure, the owner knew to tap into my vision; he agreed with me and the structure speaks for itself.”

Olajumoke also took us on a walk into the Guiding Light Assembly Church which she designed years ago, an awesome and unmatched edifice indeed “I understand the psychology of space, your environment modifies your behaviour and that is something I understand and it comes across in my designs.” She says adding that “all inspiration comes from above and this is an ecclesiastical master piece designed for health, safety and environment. Architecture is not merely seen as function but as distinction. Architecture is about your persona. For me, architecture is a marketing interface. My buildings are 4D architecture, it has a fourth dimension and my fourth dimension is called time.”

“I design buildings in such a way that as you move through the space, you experience something new and it will be a dream come true for me to design an entity that will define Nigeria’s identity.” She quips.

I also find her definition of leadership very deep and thought provoking “Leadership is influence, it is about expressing your gift, leadership is problem solving. It is good to understand your purpose in life and set your priorities right.”

“We believe the greatest need of Africa is leadership and vision. Strong people who are ready to give their all to say, ‘this is the way’, and Awesome Treasures is here to address that need, to raise transformational leaders.”

The multitasking woman that she is still makes family priority when she says “Charity begins from home. I do make time for my family because they are my priority. No matter how successful a woman is, she must never neglect her role in the family and I am grateful to God for the grace He has given me to carry out my duties effectively in the home.”

Olajumoke will do anything to make her clients happy and satisfy them with whatever they require. In her words, “I appreciate clients who understand that the artist is rewarded not for their labour but their vision and when you inspire an artist, you tap into the vision of the artist.”

It was an enlightening expose indeed. Missed it? Then watch it again on CNN website (African Voices) and you will be glad Nigeria is being projected in a positive light through one of her distinguished daughters of repute –Olajumoke Adenowo!

Kemi Ajumobi