Housing News

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CBN Retains Benchmark Interest Rate at 13.5%

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Friday announced the retention of its Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) at 13.5 percent.

This announcement was made by Governor of the CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, while addressing newsmen in Abuja on outcome of the two-day meeting of the MPC, which started yesterday.

According to the apex bank chief, the committee decided to leave the benchmark interest rate unchanged in order to monitor developments in both the global and local spaces.

The central bank further said the MPC agreed to leave the asymmetric corridor at +200 and -500 around MPR, liquidity ratio at 30 percent and the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) at 22.5 percent.

CBN Explains How Banks Will Deduct New Deposit Charges

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently announced the imposition of 2% charges on bank deposits above N500,000 in addition to already existing charges on withdrawals.
The development is part of the central bank’s plan for nationwide implementation of the cashless policy which will begin by March 31, 2020.

The apex bank made this known in a circular to all Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) in the country on Tuesday, September 17. The new policy has, however, been condemned by many Nigerians who believe it is obnoxious.
Also, the policy has generated some confusion as many seek to know how Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) will be deducting the charges. This prompted the central bank to provide further explanation regarding the new charges.

According to the apex bank, the charges on deposit and withdrawal on the savings account will be carried out on the excess of the limit it has set.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently announced the imposition of 2% charges on bank deposits above N500,000 in addition to already existing charges on withdrawals.
The development is part of the central bank’s plan for nationwide implementation of the cashless policy which will begin by March 31, 2020.

The apex bank made this known in a circular to all Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) in the country on Tuesday, September 17. The new policy has, however, been condemned by many Nigerians who believe it is obnoxious.
Also, the policy has generated some confusion as many seek to know how Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) will be deducting the charges. This prompted the central bank to provide further explanation regarding the new charges.

According to the apex bank, the charges on deposit and withdrawal on the savings account will be carried out on the excess of the limit it has set.

Source: legitng

Affordable Housing Lessons from Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore: 3 Keys to Getting the Policy Mix Right

Affordable housing is a critical problem for Australia’s biggest housing markets. Five Australian cities are in the top 25 with “severely unaffordable” housing in a 2019 Demographia survey of 91 major metropolitan markets. Sydney was ranked the third least affordable of the 91.

The average age of first-time buyers in Sydney has reached 38. And, on average, tenants spend more than 30% of their income on rent. Those who entered the Sydney market 10-15 years ago are more likely to find their housing affordable.

Cities with housing affordability issues have introduced various policy packages in response. This article compares the policies of Singapore, where housing is relatively affordable, Hong Kong (the world’s least affordable private housing market) and Sydney. Our review shows a need for coherent and coordinated housing policies – a synergistic approach that multiplies the impacts of individual policies.

Housing has direct impacts on people’s well-being. A housing market that works well may also enhance the economic productivity of a city. If not handled properly, housing affordability issues may trigger economic and political crises.

Our review covers several aspects.

A balance of renters and owners

First, an affordable housing system needs to be about both the rental and ownership sectors.

In Singapore, public housing provided by the Housing and Development Board makes up 73% of Singapore’s total housing stock, which includes public rental and subsidised ownership. HDB flats house over 80% of Singapore’s resident population, with about 90% owning their homes. The average waiting time to get public housing is three to four years.

Public housing is also important, although to a lesser extent, in Hong Kong. In this city, 44.7% of the population live in public housing. The average waiting time is three to five years, depending on household type.

In both cities, subsidised rental and subsidised ownership are an integral part of the public housing system, which aims to improve housing affordability.

Sydney takes a very different approach. Social rental housing provides only 5.56% of housing and covers only low-income households in “priority need”. The average waiting time to get into social housing is five to ten years.

Although there are other policy measures to support home buying and rental (such as the National Rental Affordability Scheme), these are not integrated with the public housing system in Sydney. Rather, the goal of these policies is to support the private housing market.

It’s not just about housing supply

Second, housing affordability needs to be backed up by demand-side policies – i.e. policies to help tenants and owners to develop financial capacity.

Despite its heavy state intervention, Singapore’s public housing stresses the responsibility of individuals. The Housing Provident Fund is a form of forced savings for housing, retirement, health and education, among other things. It is integrated with the pension system to enhance the efficiency of savings.

Forced savings are not available in Hong Kong and Sydney for housing purposes. Since 2017 first home buyers in Australia have been able to draw on their voluntary superannuation contributions for a deposit.

Work-life balance matters

Third, action on housing affordability needs to take employment and its location into account.

Ultimately, the reason people find it hard to afford housing in certain locations is because they need to achieve a work-life balance. Both Hong Kong and Singapore have developed extensive public transport systems. These offer affordable options for people to travel efficiently to and from work.

In Hong Kong, the average daily commuting time by public transport is 73 minutes. Some 21% of the residents have to travel for more than two hours a day. In Singapore, average commuting time is 84 minutes, with 25% exceeding two hours.

In Sydney, the average time is 82 minutes, but 31% take more than two hours. This means a significantly larger proportion of Sydney residents spend more time on public transport. Among the worst-affected are white-collar workers from the city’s west and southwest.


Lessons from the 3 cities

So, what we can learn from these cities’ experiences with housing affordability?

Cities take very different approaches to these issues. Each approach has its own merits and issues.

A key argument against public housing has been that it might give the tenants less incentive to save for housing. It might also not be popular with mainstream voters because of the cost to taxpayers.

Singapore’s approach seems to be a midway solution. The government plays a bigger role in providing housing, but does not waive individual responsibilities. Providing public housing and at the same time demanding individuals and employers contribute can send a strong signal: people are encouraged to join the labour force.

So far, Singapore faces the least housing affordability issues. Hong Kong and Sydney are much more liberal in their approaches to housing.

In Sydney, only the poorest benefit from the public housing system. The younger generation is struggling to get on the housing ladder.

In Hong Kong, people are forced to buy housing in the commercial market if their income is even just above the eligibility line for public housing. The severe unaffordability of private housing in Hong Kong, even for young professionals, brews social discontent.

Combining these three perspectives, Sydney’s housing, savings and public transport systems are far from well synergised to offer a competitive package of affordable housing. The 30-minute city plan prepared by the Greater Sydney Commission might improve the situation. However, similar to Hong Kong, current policies are weak in building the capacity of young people to own homes.

Source: theconversation

Dangote Hails Buhari’s New Economic Advisory Council

President of Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote, has commended the new Economic Advisory Council (EAC), constituted by President Muhammadu Buhari to advise him on the nation’s economic growth and overall development describing the move as  a proactive step capable of elevating Nigeria’s economy to greater heights. 

Dangote, who spoke as Chairman at the commissioning ceremony of the new Secretariat of the Chemical and Non-Metallic Products Employers Federation (CANMPEF), said “the constitution of the Economic Advisory Council made up of tested and respected patriots, who are independent and always ready to put the country’s interest first and ahead of themselves.” He then urged the Federal Government to take advantage of this rare opportunity to strengthen the economy and put the country on the path of growth, job creation and competitiveness. The industrialist also called on all stakeholders to work with the Federal Government to revive and restore the economy on the path of growth.

Dangote said government should continue to provide the enabling environment so that the private sector can continue to thrive to go in the next level.   The foremost entrepreneur described CANMPEF as the largest employers of labour, having members spread across many sectors, commending the leadership for its achievements so far.

He also charged the Union leaders not to rest on their oars but to sustain the momentum for the overall benefits of the workers and employer-members of the Federation. Dangote said his companies would continue to play their roles as leaders in their respective sectors so that CANMPEF would be taken to the next level in line with the present administration’s economic agenda.  In her remark, the Minister of State for Industries, Trade and Investments, Ambassador Maryam Katagum, who represented her minister, Chief Adeniyi Adebayo, said the government would continue to initiate the necessary right policy that would propel the private sector members to thrive as major economy drivers. She stated that the Federal Government was not unmindful of the challenges being faced by the private sector and that with the next level agenda, all obstacles would be tackled to help the economy improve for the better.

Ambassador Katagum explained that the Federal Government shared in the ideals of the CANMPEF and urged all members to adhere strictly to all safety and environmental rules.

In his own remarks, President of CANMPEF, Mr. Devakumar Edwin, said the new building was another one of several steps taken by CANMPEF leadership to have the right atmosphere to discharge its obligations to members, workers and the government.

He stated that the Federation plays critical roles of keeping members informed of the existing labour legislations and serves as platform to protect the interests of member companies against any development in the macro-economic environment threatening business survival.

Source: sunnewsonline

How Global Real Estate Perspective Impacts Local Industry

There are some confusion regarding the activities around the real estate sector of the economy regarding  the way document titlings are secured. This, includes obtaining Certificate of Occupancy (C o O), survey plan and many others . It also include registering of property designs to match what the developer has in mind. Aside the approved documents, there are innumerable receipts given by traditional rulers or their agents. There are also concerns that some of the payments made to the Omoniles’ which may not be receipted due to lack of legality of the process. 

Due to the fact that the practice lacks empirical acceptance, it has refused to follow the global trends in the sector. From all indications, 2019 has been one of twists and turns for the real estate market in Nigeria, shifting in an instant.

For this reason, real estate professionals need to keep their eyes open for the next up-and-coming trends to hit the market and cause a stir. Knowing in advance what to expect in terms of market trends for the real estate industry will not only give you an edge over your competition, but helps you serve the customers better. You will be ready and able to implement, react to or inform on the ways the market is shifting for the rest of the year both for good and the bad.

With the development in the sector in Nigeria and world over,  people can share what real estate trends or market shifts they have been most surprised about since 2018, from blockchain advancements to the return of co-ops, rising home prices and more. With that at the back of our mind, one can analyse 2019 and make favourable forecasts for 2020 and beyond. It has become very clear that real estate practitioners in Nigeria are not leaving anything to chance as far as technological advancement and development are concerned. With that, the new trends and expectations creeping into the sector in other economies are sure to be received and domesticated in the country.

The advancement of technological innovation in the real estate industry has been changing rapidly and all agents should adapt to this to maximise exposure for their listings. Real estate firms in the country have been changing the way sellers and buyers perceive the market and it is crucial for agents to quickly adapt to this new reality for the next level they expect to be in tandem with what obtains in other climes. Not to belabor the already highly-trending topic of blockchain changing the world, but this is the reality of the industry. Blockchain-based applications are changing the way buyers, sellers and investors interact with each other and the properties they have interests in. Practitioners should welcome Nigerians to the new world of unleashed liquidity, transparency and disintermediation that the sector is ready to supply. The real estate world is rapidly changing and Nigeria must do so too to be able to follow the trend or it will fall by the wayside.

For the past several years in some developed countries, people have seen the downtown new development condominium market take a big bite out of the co-operative resale market. Now that there are so many new (and more expensive) projects, we are seeing buyers actually return uptown to purchase co-operatives because the prices are more moderate in comparison. What hasn’t changed is that some of the boards remain difficult to pass.

When a home price growth is discussed, the New York City (NYC) real estate is always in mind. The NYC real estate market indicates that home prices might rise more slowly in the months ahead. During the years 2012-2015, operators saw 12 per cent 15 per cent growth. They did not have any surprise during the year 2018. Average home price growth over the last few decades is somewhere between 5 per cent and 10 per cent per year. So, perhaps what the operators are seeing now could be a normalization within the Manhattan part of NYC real estate market. Fully stabilized, non-value-add property have softening cap rates as much as 25 basis points.

This is due to flatter rent projections, volatile interest rates, and in some areas, rising property taxes or what Nigerians call double taxation. We all know online sales are killing malls, but we’ve seen few attempts at adaptive reuse. Many of these struggling retail locations have excellent economics for multifamily redevelopment. I’m shocked we haven’t seen more mall-to-multifamily conversions. Operators have seen article after article saying millennials do not want to buy a home or cannot afford it, yet homeownership for this age group is on the rise. Fortunately, this age group is still a significant portion of the luxury rental market, and the baby boomers who just sold their houses are an increasing renter base.

The top trend the operators have seen so far has been a steady stream of new construction, which is keeping rent prices mostly in check for 2018. But, this stream of new construction in Nigeria is not doing anything in the direction of checking price rates. A stable pipeline of new buildings means we will see the impact of lower rent growth but still above long-term averages when it comes to rent across the U.S.

The drought of available inventory has been the most surprising trend, by far. Whether the underlying reasons are demographic, economic, regulatory (i.e., zoning) or a combination thereof, the operators are not seeing as many homes hit the market as we should. Agents have to do a better job in prompting inventory and explaining the current seller’s market to homeowners. A clear trend that has emerged is the importance of online presence and branding.

Real-time management of your online presence has become even more important than predicted and can impact your business if it isn’t diligently managed. So, too, is the influence of Gen Z in the marketplace. We have already seen their influence in how real estate is designed and marketed, and this will only grow. What surprises me is the overwhelming lack of transparency and hidden agendas of the industry. We have an abundance of technology that could serve consumers in extraordinary ways, but the old guard remains steadfast in their fight to protect themselves. Another new trend the Nigeria operators should also take note of is profit taking. In the real estate market and in every market, what the traders seek is the bottom line. This is the profit that gingers any business person to continue in whatever he is doing.

Another of the trends that operators have seen is profit taking by investors and homeowners in several of the key markets we follow. These listings have usually started 15-20 per cent above market and slowly work themselves back, seeking an elevated pricing floor. What we have yet to learn is whether this profit taking is working to establish a new pricing floor for the overall market.

Also operators are seeing a huge uptick in agents recognizing the value in using professionals for all their visual marketing needs virtual staging, drone video and photography, virtual tours, interactive floor plans and more. Hiring the pros to help will continue to be less of a “nice to have” and more of a “must have” for agents, homeowners and home seekers alike. The rise in single families is another trend that is capable of increasing real estate market. A total of 3.6 million single-family rental homes (SFR) have been added from 2006-2016.

The SFR industry has risen to the challenge to escape a “mom-and-pop” dominated market.

Source: Sunneesonline

Should People Profit From Housing? Bernie Sanders Says Yes, and No

Bernie Sanders has gone much further than any of the other 2020 Democratic presidential candidates in proposing not just more money for affordable housing, or more enforcement of fair-housing laws, but also fundamental changes in how the housing market functions.

His most startling ideas — a national rent control standard, and new taxes on land speculation and house “flipping” — would bring America closer to the idea that housing should be treated as shelter and not a commodity.

But in the housing plan his campaign released Wednesday, Mr. Sanders doesn’t go all the way there. He allows for profit, but not certain kinds of profit, or profit by certain kinds of actors. In that middle ground, somewhere between the private market and social housing for all, things get complicated.

The national rent control standard Mr. Sanders has proposed would cap the amount that landlords can raise rents, to shield tenants from escalating housing costs and, in a deeper sense, the excesses of capitalism in the housing market. Landlords could raise the rent by no more than 3 percent per year, or one and a half times the rate of inflation, whichever is higher.

His housing plan says nothing about the profits of people buying and selling homes in the normal course of homeownership. In fact, Mr. Sanders would invest an additional $8 billion into federal programs to help first-time home buyers, precisely because homeownership in America is often a means of building wealth.

Between the two proposals lies a fraught balance: One would curb profits in the housing market, while the other acknowledges that many Americans depend on those profits. Mr. Sanders’s campaign seeks to reconcile the two by arguing that rich investors or landlords shouldn’t get to make so much, while ordinary American families should have a chance to make something.

“We want to return to the notion that homeownership can be an asset builder for working people and average American families, and it is not just a vehicle to commodify to make the rich richer,” said Josh Orton, a senior adviser to the Sanders campaign and its national policy director.

In practice, however, it’s not always obvious how to distinguish the working families from the rich investors, or how to devise policies that crack down on the one but not the other. Some middle-class families, for example, build wealth by owning rental properties. And landlord groups are skeptical that 3 percent rent increases would build them much wealth, especially when property taxes, insurance rates and utilities aren’t also capped.

Mr. Sanders’s proposal would also put a hefty tax on house flipping, hitting owners who sell a property for more than the original price within five years of purchase (for a place they don’t occupy). But that definition would cover people we don’t think of as flippers: a small-scale general contractor who remodels two homes a year; a family that buys a home for an aging parent who later dies; a landlord who herself faces financial distress and must get out of the business.

Mr. Sanders has similarly proposed a tax on empty homes, aimed at speculators who sit on vacant properties until they become more lucrative to redevelop, or simply profitable to resell. That is a real problem in some communities, leaving neighbors to live with blight for years. But owning an empty home doesn’t necessarily make you a speculator. Someone who has put a property on the market and struggled to sell it for months might end up facing this tax.

The full proposal, emphasizing the feel-good parts of the market but not the others, is trying to have it both ways, said Jenny Schuetz, a housing economist at the Brookings Institution who has been following housing proposals from the 2020 candidates.

“In some ideal universe, people would buy homes (or rental properties) that appreciated slightly faster than inflation, allowing them to build wealth, but without housing costs rising too fast to pressure renters, deter new homeowners, or create excess capital gains,” Ms. Schuetz wrote in an email. “In that context, both rent control and flipping taxes make sense. The problem is, with any semblance of a private real estate market, land and housing values don’t behave that way.”

She is skeptical that it is even possible to design or regulate a market that gives modest returns to individual homeowners, but never gives big returns to landlords; that penalizes greedy flippers, but never harms small-time contractors; that taxes vacant homes but doesn’t punish working families.

Mr. Sanders’s ideas invite a host of questions about how they would technically work (how do we police a million landlords?) and where their legal authority would come from (would the courts uphold a national rent control law?). But these deeper questions about the kind of housing market voters might want seem worth hashing out, regardless of those other details.

Mr. Orton, the Sanders adviser, pushed back against the logic of economists that, for one, rent control discourages developers from building and landlords from renting housing that Americans badly need.

“I would say to those economists, how is that working out?” he said of the current deference to the market. “That’s what we’ve been doing. When we’ve left this to private developers, everything from the crash of the housing market to how we’ve seen gentrification just explode in some of the most vulnerable communities, to how we’ve seen people priced out of what would normally be affordable housing — this current crisis is the result of that.”

Source; nytimes

The Best Architecture of the 21st Century

A flying roof, a bamboo airport, a marooned galleon and a park in the sky … continuing our series, we pick the 25 greatest builds of the new age


Cineroleum, London, UK (2010)

There have been few moments of architectural theatre as strange and wonderful as the Cineroleum, a temporary cinema erected in a disused petrol station on Clerkenwell Road one summer. The moment of brilliance came when, at the end of each screening, the silvery Tyvek curtain walls of the auditorium were unexpectedly whisked up, leaving the audience exposed on the side of a busy main road for all passing traffic to see. Fun handmade details included decorative ceiling tiles vacuum-formed on site and intricate Formica marquetry tables and stools, setting the tone for Assemble collectives’s signature low-cost craft.


Children Village, Canuanã School, Brazil (2017)

Providing elemental shelter on a heroic scale, the Children Village – by Aleph Zero with Marcelo Rosenbaum – is a model of architectural ingenuity in a remote rural region of Brazil. Offering boarding accommodation for 540 pupils, the two identical buildings each consist of a vast roof, stretching 165 metres by 65 metres, supported on a forest of slender wooden columns above a village of freestanding dormitory rooms, built of mud bricks dug from the site. The little rooms are designed with perforated, breathable walls, allowing natural cross-ventilation, and are connected by an upper level of wooden walkways and play decks, creating an airy veranda with the feeling of a meandering treehouse.


Muzeum Susch, Switzerland (2019)

Alpine chalet, primitive grotto and Bond villain’s lair in one, Voellmy Schmidlin’s Muzeum Susch is one of the most unusual and evocative spaces for art that has been built in recent years. It is located on the site of a 12th-century monastery in a rambling complex of buildings that formerly housed a vicarage, hospice and brewery, supplemented by a series of dramatic subterranean spaces that have been dynamited out of the mountainside. Combining local vernacular techniques with crisp new additions, the young architects have created a magical place where the historic fabric, contemporary art and raw geology of the landscape collide.

The prayer hall at Bait ur Rouf Mosque Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Mesmerising pattern … the prayer hall at Bait ur Rouf Mosque Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photograph: Sandro di Carlo Darsa/MTA


Bait Ur Rouf Mosque, Dhaka, Bangladesh (2012)

Tucked into the corner of a city block in the dense Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, this little brick mosque by Marina Tabassum is a poetic essay on how natural light can be used to maximum effect. Formed from a square concrete pavilion that is surrounded by a cylindrical brick drum, in turn enclosed in a perforated brick cube, the gaps between the geometries allow shafts of light to wash over the walls from above, while the ceiling of the central prayer hall is punctured by a constellation of holes that cast a mesmerising dappled pattern across the bare floor.


Blue House, London, UK (2002)

On a side street in Hackney, standing like a clapboard billboard, the Blue House by FAT signalled the revival of wit, humour and reference in architecture, coming as a bold breath of fresh air in the early 00s, when postmodernism was still a dirty word. A literal interpretation of a live-work building, its facade combines the iconography of an office block and a suburban home as a stage-set cutout, masking a complex interior that nods to Venturi Scott Brown and Adolf Loos, with winding stairs, window seats and carefully layered spaces.

Teshima Art Museum, Japan
Cave … Teshima Art Museum, Japan Photograph: Isabel Choat


Teshima Art Museum, Japan (2010)

A cosmic bubble of white concrete bulging out of the ground, the Teshima Art Museum by Ryue Nishizawa is less a museum than an art installation. Visitors enter the space shoeless, through a narrow funnel, to be swallowed by a dreamy white world where the 25cm-thick concrete shell forms a vast 40 metre x 60 metre cave lit by two oval apertures. A site-specific work by artist Rei Naito sees droplets of water seep through the ground from tiny springs, forming glistening rivulets that trickle across the floor. Soft, sensual minimalism at its most distilled.


Gando School, Burkina Faso (2001-12)

The “rural high-tech” school buildings Francis Kéré has built in his home village of Gando, 125 miles south-east of Burkina Faso’s capital of Ouagadougou, stand as a compelling, climate-conscious alternative to steel, glass and air-conditioning. Kéré designed the primary school while he was a student in Germany, and it embodies his low-energy, low-cost principles: a pair of simple rectangular volumes made of mud bricks, crowned with a “flying roof” of vaulted corrugated metal, providing extra shade and encouraging air flow. A model of gadget-free ecological elegance..

Madrid Barajas Airport, Spain.
Calming … Madrid Barajas Airport, Spain. Photograph: Anthony Weller/View/Rex/Shutterstock


Madrid Barajas Airport, Spain (2005)

Richard Rogers achieved a rare thing in Madrid: creating an airport that doesn’t make you desperate to escape. From its gently undulating bamboo ceiling, to its forest of rainbow-coloured branching columns, to the large circular openings that bring daylight deep into its lower levels, itprovides a soothing balm for the stresses of international travel. Designed with Estudio Lamela, it has a calming quality that is hard to convey in photographs, from the soft acoustic to the merciful lack of fluorescent lighting.


Beijing National Stadium, China (2008)

The Bird’s Nest.
The Bird’s Nest. Photograph: AFP

The most dazzling Olympic stadium of modern times, Herzog & de Meuron’s Beijing Bird’s Nest is far more sophisticated than simply a symbol of China’s emerging nationalist might. Created with Ai Weiwei, its taut latticework shell of crisscrossing columns and beams creates a beguiling space between the pitch and the plaza outside, a Piranesian world of dramatic flying staircases and secluded corners, washed by a feverish play of light and shadows. The open structure allows crowds to filter in from all sides, drawing people into the atmospheric glade of tilting steel trunks, a world apart from the usual cattle-herding arena infrastructure.


Bruder-Klaus Field chapel, Mechernich, Germany (2007)

This is the ultimate in elemental shrines by the architect’s architect, the reclusive mountain-dwelling mystic Peter Zumthor. An enigmatic concrete tower stands in a field, with a layered, sedimentary texture, as if hewn from the Earth. Walk through a triangular opening and you find a gnarled, blackened cave that tapers to a teardrop roof light. It is the product of a suitably witchy ritual: concrete was cast over a pyramidal pyre of tree trunks, then the wood was burned out from within. The result is wonderfully primal.

Peckham library, south London.
Captured the public imagination… Peckham library, south London. Photograph: Martin Godwin/The Guardian


Peckham Library, London, UK (2000)

Standing on the edge of a square as a bright green inverted L-shape crowned with a jaunty orange beret, the Peckham Library by Will Alsop summed up an era of millennial optimism. It features a double-height reading room raised on the architect’s trademark wonky columns, with a seductive interior landscape of curvaceous wooden pods on angled stilts. It captured the public imagination and had the desired effect of attracting younger readers: the library welcomes three times the borough’s average of 15- to 17-year-old members.


Xiangshan Campus, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou (2002-13)

A poetic rallying cry for craft in the face of China’s rapid urbanisation, the Xiangshan Campus has a timeless air. Nestled in a bucolic landscape on the edge of Hangzhou, the 20 buildings for studying, working and living fuse ancient traditions of Chinese architecture with a strikingly modern outlook, reusing more than 2m salvaged tiles and bricks from the site to form a richly textured collage of materials, combining finely crafted timber elements with rugged, rough-cast concrete. Designed by Amateur Architecture Studio, it marked the emergence of a new vernacular that the country’s younger generation of architects have since embraced.


Sala Beckett, Barcelona, Spain (2014)

An ingenious reworking of a 1920s workers’ club into a new theatre, the Sala Beckett shows how adaptive reuse can be a magical art form and how materials can be mined from a site and redeployed with added value. Think John Soane meets Gordon Matta-Clark. Architects Flores y Prats conducted an exhaustive archaeological survey of every element of the building before taking their chainsaw and scalpel to remake it in the most exquisite bricolage, crafting a place that revels in the layers of history once latent in the site.

Fuji Kindergarten by Tezuka architects
Playground deck … Fuji Kindergarten. Photograph: Katsuhisa Kida/Fototeca


Fuji Kindergarten, Tokyo, Japan (2007)

’Tezuka Architects’ Fuji Kindergarten puts a wild sense of fun at the centre of its design. Conceived as a great doughnut with a playground deck on the roof through which climbable tree trunks poke, it is designed to encourage freeform learning. Sliding doors allow the classrooms to be opened up to the playground, while gargoyles channel rainwater, creating waterfalls for kids to play in during wet weather. The kind of building that makes you wish you were four again.

‘Half of a good house’ ... the Quinta Monroy housing project in Iquique, Chile.
Half of a good house … the Quinta Monroy housing project in Iquique, Chile. Photograph: Cristobal Palma


Quinta Monroy housing, Iquique, Chile (2004)

When the budget to rehouse 100 squatter families didn’t stretch to cover them all, Elemental decided to build them each half a house – and let the occupants finish the rest themselves, according to their needs. The terraced design provided a basic concrete frame, with kitchen, bathroom and a roof, allowing residents to fill in the gaps and stamp their own identity on their homes in the process. The value of the properties has since increased five-fold, while the model has been rolled out in different forms across South America.




Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Germany (2016)

Like a great glass galleon marooned atop an old brick warehouse on Hamburg’s waterfront, the Elbphilharmonie by Herzog & de Meuron is a project of pharaonic proportions. More than seven years late and 10 times over budget, it finally proved to be worth the pain. It stands as an ocean liner of architectural virtuosity, with an eye-watering level of bespoke craftsmanship that few other buildings of the century can match. From the curved escalator-ride entrance sequence through a spangle-studded tunnel to the hand-blown glass lamps and coral-like surface of the auditorium, it is a camp temple of wonder.

Heft … Grafton Architects’ UTEC in Lima.
Heft … Grafton Architects’ UTEC in Lima. Photograph: Iwan Baan


UTECuniversity campus, Lima, Peru (2015)

Built with the muscular solidity of a building from another era, Grafton Architects’ new campus for UTEC university has the raw mineral heft of a geological formation. Huge concrete fins march along the spine of the building, supporting laboratories and classrooms and rising up on either side of a nave-like void that provides a social route through the complex. Heroic yet intimate, its aerial ballet of staggered terraces and flying walkways creates an enticing network of open-air spaces to sit and meet, embracing the outdoor possibilities of the local climate.


Vasconcelos Library and Botanical Gardens, Mexico City, Mexico (2007)

Going to look for a book has never been so thrilling. Walking into the lofty hall of Alberto Kalach’s Vasconcelos Library, it’s impossible not to be awed by the hanging stacks of shelves that climb either side, forming a vertiginous Blade Runner metropolis of books. This deep, multilevel canyon is crisscrossed by gantries, cantilevered staircases and projecting platforms, while reading areas enjoy natural light at the edges of the building, with views of the lush botanical gardens. One of the most exhilarating interiors of the century.


Casa da Música, Porto, Portugal (2005)

Looking like a faceted concrete meteorite that crash-landed on the edge of a roundabout in Porto, the Casa da Música by OMA is one of the most spirited cultural buildings of the century. Its cascading aluminium stairs draw you into a world of twisting spatial drama, where a public route spirals up around the central auditorium, offering views through rippling glass walls. It feels intimate and grand in turns, decked out with a punk collage of materials from gold-leafed timber to traditional handpainted Portuguese tiles and surrounded by an undulating piazza that has become a skateboarders’ nirvana.


21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan (2004)

Few projects embody Japanese architecture’s quest for ethereal lightness as successfully as this miniature city of art, designed by Sanaa. A wafer-thin halo hovers over a complex of different-sized galleries and community facilities housed in discreet cubic pavilions, arranged on a street-like grid and forming a jumbled labyrinth through which visitors may drift. Punctuated by open courtyards, the little village of white cubes is enclosed in a diaphanous bubble of glass, providing constant connection with landscape outside. It is built with a delicacy and precision rarely matched elsewhere.

New York’s High Line park.
Perspective … New York’s High Line park. Photograph: Busà Photography/Getty Images


High Line, New York, US (2009-14)

No landscape project has spawned as many imitators as the High Line, the transformation of an abandoned elevated railway into a public park along the west side of Manhattan’s Meatpacking District by James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Its true power lies in providing visitors with a different perspective of the city, allowing people to float above the congested streets on a linear green lung with unexpected views along the way. It’s almost too popular for its own good, having become a teeming tourist trap and unintentionally catalysed the rapid gentrification of the surrounding area.


Seattle Central Library, US (2004)

A teetering stack of terraces enclosed in an angular fishnet stocking of steel and glass, OMA’s Seattle Central Library is one of the most inventive public buildings in the US. Reasserting the importance of books at a time when their future is in doubt, it is a living hymn to the Dewey Decimal Classification system: the collection is arranged on a continuous spiral ramp, while generous public spaces offer dizzying views through gaping atria with the feeling of being on a ship’s deck. Open, daring and democratic, it is a brilliant model for the 21st-century urban library.


Neues Museum, Berlin, Germany (2009)

A masterful thesis in how to treat a war-ravaged building, the Neues Museum is a tour de force of restoration, repair and bold new addition. Built in 1855 and heavily bombed during the second world war, the building was brought back to life by David Chipperfield and Julian Harrap using painstakingly restored murals and mosaics along with new insertions that echo the old. Where there was nothing left to restore, new elements were introduced in a stripped-back form, most notably the magnificent central stairwell. It marked the first chapter of Chipperfield’s ongoing work on Berlin’s Museum Island, recently joined by the Parthenon-like James Simon Gallery.

‘Always add, transform and reuse’ ... Grand Parc, Bordeaux.
‘Always add, transform and reuse’ … Grand Parc, Bordeaux, by Lacaton & Vassal, Frédéric Druot and Christophe Hutin. Photograph: Philippe Ruault


Grand Parc, Bordeaux, France, 2016

shown how new life can be breathed into ailing concrete tower blocks. Grand Parc is the most substantial example to date of their philosophy: “Never demolish, never remove or replace, always add, transform and reuse!” The project – with Frédéric Druot and Christophe Hutin – saw three 1960s blocks wrapped with a new skin, extending the flats by four metres and adding full-height windows, all on a budget of just €65,000 per home and without the residents having to move. It is a model for how thousands of such buildings around the world could be improved, rather than razed.

Tate Modern, London.
Breathtaking … Tate Modern, London. Photograph: Mood Board/Rex/Shutterstock


Tate Modern, London, UK (2000)

The mother of all loft conversions, Tate Modern was one of the world’s most breathtaking public buildings when it opened at the very start of the millennium, and it remains so today. The then-unknown Swiss duo of Herzog & de Meuron excavated a captivating sequence of spaces out of Giles Gilbert Scott’s colossal 1950s power station, from the momentous sloping entrance into the gaping turbine hall, to the processional routes through the airy galleries. Finely tuned to the spirit of the place, it set the bar for the imaginative reuse of industrial infrastructure for the next two decades – and, most likely, for the rest of the century



Source: The Guardian

Why forces are against Osinbajo

The latest alleged plot to whittle down the powers of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in the scheme of things at the presidency has kept gathering momentum. It all started with the disbandment of the Economic Management Team (EMT) chaired by the vice president on Monday. The presidency announced the replacement of the EMT with the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) via a statement by presidential spokesman Femi Adesina.

Without mincing words, the presidency said the council would be reporting directly to President Muhammadu Buhari, thus removing the management of the country’s economy from Osinbajo’s supervision. Before the uproar generated by the replacement of the EMT settled, then comes the stripping of Osinbajo of powers to supervise some federal government agencies. A memo to that effect has been issued to the vice president

Osinbajo chairs the governing boards of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA), National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) and the National Boundary Commission (NBC). He also chairs the Board of Directors of Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), a limited liability company owned by the three tiers of government, and was also Chairman of the National Council on Privatization (NCP). Multiple sources, including at the presidency, said the development was not unconnected with the scheming and machinations for 2023 when President Buhari will be completing his second and final term in office. One of the sources said though the Osinbajo-led EMT has not done much in turning around the country’s economy, the replacement was not about performance. “It is not about performance but politics of 2023,” the source said. Also a senator, who will not want to be named, said the power tussle was part of the plot to dump the Southwest ahead of 2023. “It’s 2023 calculations but in my own opinion fighting the Southwest would not be good for the polity,” the lawmaker said. Recalling how the Southwest supported the emergence of Buhari in 2015, he said it was time for the North to reciprocate the gesture. A top northern politician also linked the development to the scheming for 2023. Speaking anonymously, the politician said there was a lot of intense activity by people very close to the president on 2023. “They want to get an edge in the competition over who will succeed him (Buhari) come 2023. “The last thing that the president who is already running a very difficult administration needs is to have his vice president embroiled in a speculation and controversy that divert attention from the running of the government. “However, it’s fair for Nigerians to speculate whether this is part of the ongoing fight between El-Rufai, Tinubu and Osinbajo himself. “You can’t wish away some of these speculations. It’s part of normal politics and governance. I wish the president will say something clearly and specifically to lay to rest some of these rather disturbing speculations. This is what he needs to do,” he said. Buhari had in July said he would not name anybody as his successor. The president said: “Succession, to me this is very funny; because if I did find anybody I will create more problems for him or her. Let those who want to be president try as much as I did. “I believe those who are interested need to know that I tried three times and the fourth time I thank God and technology, PVC.”

Source: Dailytrust

2,667 Houses, Farmlands Destroyed by Flood in Niger – NSEMA

No fewer than 2,667 houses, farmlands, roads, and bridges have been destroyed by flooding in 17 local government areas in Niger State.

Alhaji Ahmed Inga, the Director-General of Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA), disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Minna on Thursday.

He said that most of the buildings, roads, and bridges were completely washed away by flooding across the 17 local government areas. Inga said that poultries, culverts, primary schools, clinics, fish ponds, and health facilities were also affected.

He said that the incidents occurred between August and September, adding that the agency was still receiving more reports on the flood incidents.

He said some of the affected local government areas were Rafi, Gurara, Paikoro, Suleja, Agaie, Katcha, Kontagora, Gbako, and Shiroro. Other affected areas include Bosso, Chanchaga, Mashegu, Edati, Lavun, Lapai and Mokwa.

The director-general added that the report on the incident had been submitted to the governor to provide palliative support to the affected persons.

Source; pmnewsnigeriang

Experts Identify Technology, Real Estate as Growth Drivers of Economy

Experts have identified investments in technology, real estate as growth drivers needed to boost the nation’s economy on sustainable basis. According to them, if investors, entrepreneurs and regulators of sectors that drive the economy can continue to intensify collaboration, the future of technology in Nigeria and Africa appears promising.

They also stressed the need for government to create enabling business environment and fix the parlous infrastructure for optimal productivity. Speaking at an investment forum in Lagos, Partner, West Africa Financial Services and Chief Economist, PwC Nigeria, Dr Andrew Nevin, said unlocking dead capital and investment in real estate is key to growing the economy.

According to him, PwC estimates that Nigeria holds at least $300 billion or as much as $900 billion worth of dead capital in residential real estate and agricultural land alone.For real estate, he said there is housing deficit of 17 million, which creates immense employment benefits for Nigerians. Nevin, who spoke at the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (AVCA), Focus Live, said Nigeria also needs to look into its Diaspora remittances, as the country currently accounts for over a one-third of migrants flows in Sub-Saharan Africa.

He said migrants’ remittances were 77.2 per cent of last year’s government’s budget and more than 10 times the foreign direct investment (FDI) flows in the same period.The Managing Director of AIICO Pensions Managers, Eguarekhide Longe, who decried the setbacks on gathering data in the country, said private equity investments is also essential in growing Nigeria’s economy as the country is a price sensitive market for investors.

Longe said private equity has made gains from the telecommunication sector but there are still challenges with the payment system. He said entertainment is also a revenue generator but needs some sort of coordination to harness its potentials. The creative sector is difficult to replicate but there is need to put structures behind it.

Senior Partner and Managing Director, AfricInvest Nigeria, Abiola Ojo-Osagie, said in developing the economy, Nigeria must not forget the application of technology to navigate to the side of returns. Ojo-Osagie said there is need to unleash local talent into portfolio development, while promoting local development through value-driven strategies.

Co-Founder, Lidya, Tunde Kehinde, said the opportunities intechnology are ernomous, saying what will happen in the future will elude the ones in the past. Kehinde said there is more openness for businesses using technology with access to different services.

He said technology will change expectations of people and force all traditional entities to change the face of their businesses.Kehinde added that there will be dramatic shift in the way people do things with customer customers orientated initiatives.

Source: Guardianng

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