Anambra benefits from FG’s N500m Housing scheme

Anambra state has benefited from the federal government’s 500 million naira Staff Corporation housing scheme through the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria FMBN.

This was as a result of Governor Willie Obiano’s magnanimity in repaying the 200 million naira the state owed before now.


Speaking at the weekend, the Executive Director of FMBN, Nnanyelugo Melville Ebo, when he visited the state, said the bank had other schemes the state would benefit from also including health insurance scheme.

He said the scheme was for Southeast, South South and South West, adding that by June 2nd, the second phase of the projects would begin.

Ebo, said the Bank came to the state for collaboration, adding that they were offering two states per each zone, with 100 houses each.

He said Anambra was listed in the scheme because, it was compliant, adding that Housing was something everybody should benefit from, which according to him, had been the idea of the president Muhammadu Buhari led government.

In his response, the Managing Director of the Anambra State Housing Corporation, Willie Okafor, said the state was keying into the scheme without delay.

He said the mandate of Governor Willie Obiano to them was to provide enough Housing to the people of the state, adding that the state was ready to key into all the schemes enumerated by the Bank.

By Nwanosike Onu, Awka

The cost of renting a home in Lagos is incredibly high, but a new rent model could be the way around it

Welcome to the city of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital and home to 21 million people, according to the Lagos State Government estimates. The World Population Review expects it to double by 2050 despite Lagos being only 1,171 km² big.

Due to its limited geographic size, large population, and status as Nigeria’s central business district, housing in Lagos is in high demand.

Alongside Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to be the second biggest driver of the world’s building activities in the years leading up to 2025 and global construction output will double to $15 trillion in that time, according to PwC’s Emerging Trends in Real Estate: The Global Outlook 2018 report.

The report also states that Nigeria will be one of the biggest contributors to this growth as it will need almost 20 million new homes between 2012 and 2025. One huge factor in this growth will be Lagos’ booming population and housing deficit, which the state commissioner for housing puts at about 3 million.

However, despite the need to make up for its deficit, Lagos’ major housing problem lies elsewhere — the cost of rent. By the last population census data (2006), 53.9% of Lagos’ population was below the age of 25. By now, the majority of this demographic are in their most productive years, looking to settle down by owning or renting their own apartments. For them, rent is either too expensive or hard to maintain, mainly because earning power is much weaker.

Ibukun Akinnawo, a resident of Lagos, says, “Rent in Lagos is definitely ridiculously priced.” She argues that apartments are often not worth the prices they go for. “For example, I currently live in a serviced apartment, which really isn’t serviced at all,” she says. “The landlord just takes the service charge and does God knows what with it. Whenever any of the facilities spoil in the apartment, my housemates and I have to pay for it out of pocket because the facility manager is nowhere to be found.”

“Most people cannot afford to pay upfront costs to rent a place for one or two years,” Tola Adesanmi, the co-founder of Spleet, a real estate startup that offers flexible rent and housing options in Lagos, argues.

Olaoluwa Oyedele, a business analyst, however, believes that rent in Lagos is adequately priced. “Real estate markets work based on the principles of demand and supply, except in cases of manipulative power men,” he says. “Many times when we talk about rent in Lagos, places like the Island, Yaba, Gbagada come to mind, but don’t forget Idimu, Ikotun, Egbeda (where rent is much cheaper) are also parts of Lagos.”

However, places where rent is relatively cheap in Lagos are far away from the central business districts where most companies have their offices. Meaning people residing in those areas have to battle daily with Lagos’ notorious traffic, which will ultimately affect their productivity. Living closer to work is a luxury very few can afford.

The high demand for accommodation means landlords are less incentivised to embrace any rent model that prevents them from getting their money in bulk up-front. What this also means is that people are inclined to take what they get. Oftentimes, houses in Lagos are constructed with little regard for environmental and safety laws — poor drainage systems, poor ventilation, and buildings so closely built to roads that there is no space for sidewalks or parking. Even gutters are not well-channelled so that they fill up quickly and streets get flooded when it rains heavily.
“Demand for housing in Lagos is too high and low-income earners suffer for it,” Alhaji Olanrewaju Kanimodo, who has been a landlord in Fadeyi, Lagos for over 20 years, says. “Since housing is driven by demand, if you say you won’t pay for a place because the landlord is demanding a year or two worth of rent, someone else will take it. Also, when someone builds a house and they spend millions, they at least will want to recoup the bulk of that money as fast as possible.”

He further explains that landlords collect upfront rent because it is the norm and it is safer, a way to combat the lack of trust that hovers above many transactions in Lagos. “Most of us landlords (and caretakers) don’t live in these houses, so someone who didn’t pay upfront can just decide to pack and go away one day without us knowing.”

Container homes (or Cargotecture)
To solve this problem of expensive housing, some have suggested the use of cargo containers to build more affordable homes, but this is a concept still alien to Nigerians. While it is a good idea for temporary housing, it might not be suitable for long-term accommodation, Dotun Aderibigbe, an architect, says.


“Container spaces were designed for cars and goods but not for human beings. The average headroom of houses in Nigeria is almost 10ft (3m), regular containers are less than 9ft (2.59m), the extra tall ones are 9ft 6in (2.89m) tall, considerably less than the average headroom and this is before insulation and services like plumbing and HVAC have been installed,” he says.
According to a building expert, even the Lagos State Building Control Agency considers container houses temporary structures, making them ineligible for mortgages.

What’s more, cargotecture, as container housing is often called, requires the interested party to secure a piece of land and be able to bear the costs that come with building, something many Lagosians are unable to do. Thus, the option is still a long way off widespread adoption.

African cities become the new home to over 40,000 people every day, many of whom find themselves without a roof over their heads. With that in mind, IFC has committed to do more to develop the property sector, both to provide new and affordable housing and to encourage an industry that requires significant building materials and has the potential to be a major employer. In May, IFC and Chinese multinational construction and engineering company, CITIC Construction launched a $300 million investment platform, CITICC (Africa) Holding Limited, to develop affordable housing in multiple African countries. The platform will partner with local housing developers and provide long-term capital to develop 30,000 homes over next five years. IFC estimates that each housing unit will create five full-time jobs – resulting in nearly 150,000 new jobs on the continent. Kenya and Nigeria are high on the priority list for the new effort. Kenya’s housing shortage is estimated at 2 million units, while Nigeria is in want of 17 million units. The soaring demand is being met by scant new supply. Africa’s housing market has few local developers with the technical and financial strength to construct large-scale projects. The IFC-CITIC Construction platform will work with local housing companies to develop affordable housing projects across Sub-Saharan Africa, each ranging in size from 2,000 to 8,000 units. CITIC Construction has a proven track record in constructing and delivering large scale housing projects. The platform will start by developing homes in Kenya, Rwanda and Nigeria, expanding to other countries as operations ramp up. “In Angola, through planning, financing, construction and post-construction operation, CITIC Construction has successfully completed the 200,000 units housing program, new city of Kilamba Kiaxi, with relative infrastructure and utilities in four years. CITIC Construction has also founded the CITIC BN Vocational School in Angola which helps youth acquire the skills they need to become professionals”, said Hong Bo, Assistant President of CITIC Group and Chairwoman of CITIC Construction, “CITIC Construction will take advantage of our engineering experience and delivery capability to develop more affordable houses for Africa through the platform with IFC.” “As Sub-Saharan Africa become more urbanized, the private sector can help governments meet the critical need for housing”, said Oumar Seydi, IFC Director for Eastern and Southern Africa. “The platform will help transform Africa’s housing markets by providing high quality, affordable homes, creating jobs, and demonstrating the viability of the sector to local developers. IFC will work with financial institutions to support mortgages and housing finance that will allow people to purchase the units.” The new housing units will be constructed in accordance to IFC’s green building standards, delivering homes that are environmentally friendly and sustainable. The World Bank Group estimates that by 2030, three billion people, or 40 percent of the world’s population will need new housing units. To date, IFC has invested more than $3 billion in housing finance in over 46 countries world-wide. IFC focuses on regions where large portions of the population live in sub-standard housing and have limited access to credit to build, expand, or renovate their homes.

Access over ownership
There are startups fighting to help change the current rent model to one more friendly for tenants and one that better matches people’s earning structures — daily, weekly and monthly wages and salaries.

“The world is turning to subscription models instead of upfront payments,” Adesanmi, co-founder of Spleet, says. “Millennials and working class professionals are starting to embrace the idea of access over ownership more. The remote and project-based nature of new jobs means that people don’t want to live in one place for a whole year.”
This is the logic behind Adesanmi’s Spleet and Fibre, another startup that offers “on-demand home rental solutions”. Users of these platforms can rent already-furnished homes and pay daily, monthly, or quarterly. Rent ranges from N50,000 per day to almost N500,000 per month depending on the number of rooms and size of the apartment. However, the prices on both platforms are steep for the pockets of most Lagos residents.

Both Spleet and Fibre have most of their locations in Ikoyi, Lekki, and Victoria Island — the most expensive parts of Lagos. The reason for this, Adesanmi explains, is that most of the available houses in these areas are real estate investments by people living in Lagos Mainland and most of the people who rent homes through Spleet are young people who work on the islands and want to beat Lagos’ notorious traffic.
Can monthly rent become prevalent in Nigeria’s commercial capital?
Adesanmi believes this model of paying rent monthly can be replicated across Lagos with much education and different incentives, lowering the burden of annual or bi-annual rent. Perhaps if annual rent is fractured into monthly or quarterly payments and some extra money is included, this could incentivise landlords and also help tenants plan better financially. So, an N800,000 rent that should amount to N66,666.66 per month could become N70,000 per month, a 5% increase in monthly income for the landlord and a marginal increase for the tenant.

If monthly rent will ever become widely accepted in Lagos, the government has a role to play, Alhaji Kanimodo says. He explains that it was the government decree made many years ago that revised the norm, which was for tenants to pay rent for 2 to 5 years before moving in. “Back in the day, the government could fix housing prices,” he says. So if anything is to change now, the Lagos State Government has a big part to play.

Mrs Nina Falohun, a Spleet landlord, says that the rent model ultimately depends on what works for a landlord. “You have to look at what suits you and go for it, depending on your exposure and expenditure,” she says. She opted to get quarterly payments from Spleet, which she says she signed up to because it is “a good return on investment” and because the platform ensures her property is kept in good condition.

Mrs Falohun believes that flexible rent models are more convenient for tenants because then, people can afford to live where they want without worrying about paying heavy upfront costs. People get paid monthly, so it’ll help if they pay their rent monthly as well, she says. She also highlighted how Nigeria’s poor saving culture makes it more difficult for people to keep up with the annual rent model.

Chuma Onwuka, a Fibre user, says that the idea of paying rent monthly or quarterly instead of annually is “very useful”. “Most young adults either cannot accumulate that much cash at a go on a regular basis or would rather invest their money,” he says. The returns from investments, he argues, “can be used to offset rent payments due on a monthly/quarterly basis.”

Oyedele believes this monthly model “makes life easier for everyone” since “we get paid monthly, we should pay rent monthly. It also makes it easy to evict defaulting tenants and creates a stable income for landlords.”

Akinnawo echoes his thoughts that the monthly rent model will benefit both landlords and tenants. “Their apartments don’t have to be empty for months/years. It’s easier for people to cough up monthly rent than yearly rent. Think about it? Everyone gets paid monthly not annually,” she says.

By David Adeleke

How NMRC is Shaping Nigeria’s Mortgage Market

The key elements for the growth of a national mortgage finance market are gradually taking shape. Major housing industry players including mortgage banks, financing institutions, and developers are working together in a more structured fashion.

The country’s mortgage market, which has for several decades, depended on bank deposits now raises longer-term funds from the Capital Market to make mortgages of up to 20 years possible and the regulatory framework for conducting mortgage transactions is being strengthened to reduce investment risk. Also, technology is now playing a central role in streamlining and integrating mortgage transaction processes.

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This creates a pool of reliable industry data that will support strategic policy formulation to drive housing development. Overall, in terms in market depth, liquidity and structure, availability and affordability of residential mortgages, it is evident that the housing and mortgage industry has recorded significant progress in the last three years.

This turnaround is thanks in large part to the strategic interventions of the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC), a private sector-driven mortgage facility that started operations in 2015 with the mandate to develop the country’s primary and secondary markets.

To put things in perspective, consider the state of the industry before the NMRC was established in 2013 as a component of the Nigeria Housing Finance Programme – a program initiated by the Federal Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Federal Ministry of Lands, Housing & Urban Development (FMLHUD) and the World Bank/IFC. The country’s 60-year old mortgage industry was in a dire state: loose and without financial depth.

A combination of liquidity shortages, systemic and structural challenges made the growth of the sector difficult. Mortgage loans were hard to access. Even when available, they were provided at premium interest rates of upwards of 28 percent per annum. Payback periods were short with the longest being around five years.

The lack of a robust secondary mortgage market with access to long-term finance and a pro-active institution to implement structural reforms stunted growth had created an inefficient system where players in the sector operated as disparate entities.

Tapping Long-Term Mortgage Finance

In the past four years, NMRC has in pursuit of its mandate to break down barriers that hinder affordable housing delivery taken several impactful actions to reset the country’s housing market on the path of sustainable growth and impact. The most notable feat is successfully linking the mortgage market to the capital market and deepening liquidity in the system.

What is innovative about the NMRC is the catalytic way it deploys its funds through mortgage and commercial banks that give housing loans. NMRC uses the long-term funds that it raises from its bond issues to purchase loans that mortgage and commercial banks give to working Nigerians. The implication is that, instead of waiting to recoup the loans through monthly payments over periods that may range from ten to 15 years, NMRC ensures they get the full value of the loans after six months. NMRC’s capacity to make this quick liquidity conversion has boosted the financial standing of its partner mortgage banks, empowering them to process even more mortgages to other potential homeowners.

The current management of NMRC, under the leadership of Mr. Kehinde Ogundimu, plans to increase the frequency and size of the company’s bond issuance program in order to rev up refinancing activities for greater impact going forward.

Driving Standards
NMRC has also led efforts to promote the creation of a strong legal framework and standards to support the activities of key players in the mortgage market. This includes the development of uniform underwriting standards for both the formal and informal sectors of the economy. The standards set clear industry guidelines that mortgage banks are expected to comply with in originating and processing mortgages that can be refinanced by NMRC. They serve the strategic purpose of creating a strong system for mitigating risks associated with mortgage financing. Currently, all NMRC’s participating mortgage and commercial banks used these standards to process mortgage applications. The adoption of these standards by the banks and the strict application has helped NMRC to achieve zero default rate on the loans that it has refinanced so far.

NMRC has also developed a model mortgage foreclosure law for adoption by state governments. The Kaduna State government last year made history as the first state to adopt the law. The law is critical to creating legal mortgages across the country and ensuring the timely resolution of disputes. It is also necessary as a strong legal basis that empowers mortgage institutions to recover the balance of loans from defaulting borrowers by forcing the sale of the asset used as the collateral for the loan.
Fixing Structural Gaps

NMRC has also done a remarkable job of leveraging the power of technology to close structural market gaps and introduce efficiencies in the operations of the country’s mortgage market.

At the heart of this focus is the Mortgage Market System (MMS) which is currently in use by all key players use for their mortgage transactions. The system links important aspects of the housing value chain from construction finance to primary mortgage origination and administration to secondary market refinancing. The successful adoption of this system by all key stakeholders in the housing finance market is helping to forge integration of business systems and processes as well as enhance efficiency and transaction turnaround times.

NMRC is also building strategic partnerships with key stakeholders to push the frontiers of affordable home ownership across the country. First is the collaboration with the Kaduna state government which amongst other things would help deliver the State’s Millennium City Project.

The second example is the strategic partnership with the Ogun State Government to deliver quality and affordable houses to public servants in the state. Key parties to the agreement include the Ogun State Property Investment Corporation (OPIC) and Imperial Homes, TrustBond and Homebase mortgage banks. The three mortgage lenders have committed funds that would boost the capacity of OPIC to develop more properties for uptake by civil servants while NMRC will provide refinancing for the mortgages that would be provided.

Another good example is NMRC’s affordable housing partnership with Echostone Housing System, a United States-based global leader in smart housing solutions to provide innovative housing technology solutions to improve cost-effective housing delivery and increase housing stock in the country.

All these developments are exciting and hold great promise for the industry. A robust housing finance market is essential to achieving the country’s drive to provide affordable housing for the working population. NMRC has done a commendable job in collaboration with key industry stakeholders such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mortgage Bankers’ Association of Nigeria (MBAN), and the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) amongst others. Sustaining the momentum of reform and market development activities is critical.

Comparing City Development Plan With Master Plan

A City Development Plan (CDP) is both a perspective and a vision for the future development of a city. It presents the current stage of the city’s development – where are we now? It sets out the directions of change – where do we want to go? It identifies the thrust areas — what do we need to address on a priority basis It also suggests alternative routes, strategies, and interventions for bringing about the change – what interventions do we make in order to attain the vision?

City Development Plan (CDP) is focused on creating economically productive, efficient equitable and responsive cities.  Both perspective and vision document for the future development of a city; Developing a vision and selection of strategy is central to preparation; Wide range of consultations among key stakeholders; Defines potential of city, its attributes in terms of comparative and competitive advantage; Includes City Investment Plan: detailed analysis of finances; In depth analysis and review of existing situation.

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Preparation of a City Development Plan is a multi-stage exercise, involving: In-depth analysis of the existing situation, covering the demographic, economic, financial, infrastructure, physical, environmental and institutional aspects. The purpose of this stage is to review and analyse the current status of the city with regard to the state of its development, systems and procedures, as equally its institutional and financial context.

Development of a perspective and a vision of the city: Using the results of the first stage of analysis combined with consultations with key stakeholders and civil society, this stage is meant to develop a vision for the future development. Formulating a strategy for bridging the gap between where the city is and where it wishes to go. It is in this stage that strategies and interventions are identified for attaining the vision and future development perspectives. Preparing a City Investment Plan (CIP) and a financing strategy: An investment plan and a financing strategy are an integral part of the CDP.

Strengths of City Development Plan

Some aspects which even though are emphasized in the master plan but always are down played. CDP highlights like preparation of financial profile of a city, investment plan and strategy plan and infrastructure profile in preparation of CDP, which will go a long way in realizing harmonious and sustainable development of towns and cities.

In India, the projects envisaged under the first major urban renewal program (JNNURM) is implemented through CDP, which are essentially city level capital investment plans, prepared largely independently of the city’s Master Plan. This is because the city master plans do not have any financial plan attached to them and have very poor reflection of socio-economic concerns.

Master plan aims to promote growth and regulate present and future development of towns and cities. It allocates land to various uses for harmonious and sustainable distribution of land.  Though CDP provides future development perspectives, its focus is more on development of economic and social infrastructure, financial accounting, strengthening of municipal governance.

It also gives zoning regulations for harmonizing the development in each zone.  CDP was meant to be implemented under the master plan but afterwards it went off path being isolated from master plan proposals.  Master plan is a statutory instrument for guiding and regulating development- So people have to listen and adopt it. Master plan takes the cognizance of the regional linkages. For CDP, the emphasis is city based. It is a comprehensive document, integrates all aspects of development.  CDP only identifies projects under JNNURM guidelines.

City Development Plan (CDP) vs Master Plan

Many times CDP is made in cities with no Master plan. This isolation amount to ignoring an existing legal instrument of city planning and leads to only project oriented development. City Development Plan is usually taken as a synonym to a Master Plan, which is a statutory document having gone through the process of `public opinions and objections’ and backing. CDP may not be even prepared by professional Planners. It fails to seek advantage of modern data sources as used in development plans and thus may contradict the statutory master plan. JNNURM gets more financials to prepare CDP than NUIS for development plans although CDP has to be prepared for less number of cities.


Master Plan is a tool to work out land and infrastructure requirements for various urban and rural uses and it promotes growth and regulates future development for a perspective year of 20 – 25 years. It is based on the concept of multidimensionality and comprehensive nature.

The plan making process follows a systems view of planning involving instrumental rationality.  Although master Plan is an important legal document, it has many weaknesses like being rigid which call for alternatives to Master Plan.  City Development Plan is also a vision document but is more focussed on the financing and project implementation work with a perspective of 5 years.

Although CDP has many plus points, there are debates on CDP that it is often taken as a synonym of master plan with no statutory backing. Many a times it is made by people other than planners and works in isolation to Master Plan. There is a need to synchronise the implementation of CDP and Master Plan and and can be made as a single plan identifying financial proposals.

Better synchronization between CDP and Master Plan is essential for an efficient planning. CDP shoulder in tune with the Master Plan policies. Bringing the CDPs prepared under the JNNURM into the planning framework suggested by the UDPFI Guidelines. Master plan can itself identify the project and priorities and also provides financial proposals so that it becomes important to prepare a master plan.


Top Ten Tallest Building in Africa

Although Africa is not generally known for its abundance of skyscrapers, it has undergone a building surge in many cities. A number of tall buildings has been seen growing  significantly throughout the continent over the last few decades.

The Carlton Center in South Africa has for the last four decades held the pole position as Africa’s tallest building despite not being featured even among st the top 100 skyscrapers in the world.This however will soon change following recent projects currently underway set to take away the title of buildings in Africa. The Bank of Africa Tower, in Morocco is an example of such like buildings that will set the pace in being among the tallest buildings in Africa.

South Africa ranks high by hosting five of the top ten tallest buildings in Africa including the Carlton which is the tallest, Ponte City Apartments 173m, Marble Towers 152m, The Pearl Dawn at 152m and The South African Reserve Bank 150m

Kenya also joined the top 10 group in having tallest buildings, with the completion of 31-storey Britam office tower that stands 200m tall and carries the distinction of being the second-tallest building in Africa. The building that starts at its foundation as a square rotates gracefully up to the 30th floor at 45 degrees, forming a prism with different floor sizes. It is the regional headquarters of Britam East and Central Africa. It has an office space of approximately 32,000 square metres. It will additionally be able to accommodate 1,000 cars in its swanky 12-storey car park.

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1.Carlton Centre, South Africa

The Carlton Centre located, downtown in Johannesburg, South Africa, ranks the tallest building in Africa since 1973 at 223 metres with 50 floors

The skyscraper was designed by the US architectural firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. Construction began in 1960 by demolishing the old Carlton Hotel and the closing roads to form a city superblock and officially completed in 1974.However occupation of the Centre began in 1971.

The design of the tower matches that of New York’s One Seneca Tower in Buffalo which was completed in 1973.

2.Britam Tower Kenya

Britam Tower, was build as a commercial tower and is owned by British-American Investments Company. the skyscraper has a maximum height of 195 metres, above ground, with 32 usable floors. It is the second-tallest building in Africa by pinnacle height at 200 m (660 ft).

The building is the international headquarters of Britam. It features a unique prismic shape that starts as an equal four sided square footprint and ends with a two sided roof with a 60 metres (197 ft) mast, containing three helical wind turbines.

Britam Tower has a total of 350,000 square feet (32,516 m2) of office space to let for commercial purposes.The building has an attached 12 storey Car Prk that can accommodate up to 1,000 vehicles which caters to its many tenants.

3. Ponte City Apartment, South Africa

Ponte City is a skyscraper in the Berea neighborhood, just next to Hillbrow, Johannesburg, South Africa. It was built in 1975 to a height of 173 m (567.6 ft), making it the third tallest residential skyscraper in Africa.

The 55-story building is cylindrical, has an open centre dubbed “the core” allowing additional light into the apartments and rises above an uneven rock floor.

Ponte City was designed by Mannie Felman who worked closely in a team together with Rodney Grosskopff an Manfred Hermer. It is also the first cylindrical skyscraper in Africa.

The building was designed by Grosskopff in such a way that it allowed light to enter the apartments from both sides through a hollow interior. The bottom entails retail stores which had initial plans of including an  indoor ski slope on the 3,000-square-metre (32,000 sq ft) inner core floor.

4. UAP Tower, Kenya

UAP Old Mutual Tower is a 33-storey office complex in the Upper Hill neighborhood of Nairobi, Kenya owned by UAP Old Mutual Group, a financial services conglomerate headquartered in Kenya, with subsidiaries in six African countries.

The tower, which is also the second-tallest building in Nairobi at 163 m (535 ft) financed through private equity at a total of US $40,000,000 as of (2015). It has rentable space that measures 29,000 square metres (310,000 sq ft), and will also house the UAP Old Mutual Group headquarters once it is completely finished.

5.NECOM House, Nigeria

Nigerian External Communication House (NECOM House) is a skyscraper located in Lagos by a Ghanaian architectural company, Nickson Borys, Partners and built by the British company, Costain Group, famous builders of the Dolphin Square Apartments in London and the Dubai International Airport.

NECOM House is a 32-story building, houses the headquarters of NITEL which at the top of the tower and serves as a lighthouse beacon for Lagos Harbor.  The building was completed in 1979.

Top ten tallest building in Africa6. PSPF Tower, Tanzania

Located in the East African region, Tanzania is the Tower A and B PSPF Twin Towers standing at 153 metres (502 feet) tall with 35 floors.The buildings which have a postmodern style began its construction in 2011 and completed in 2014. The towers were officially opened for business in 2015.

This building and construction proposal was a winning design in a competition for design of a mixed urban development in the heart of Dar es Salaam City. They were built using concrete glass and steel by Hatmy Engineering.

Each floor has been well designed to accommodate shopping facilities, residential apartments, luxury hotels, cinemas halls and office spaces for rental. It has  offices, retail stores and parking garage.

Top ten tallest building in Africa7.Marble Tower, South Africa

Located in joburg’s central business district at 499ft, the Marble Towers is a skyscraper built in 1973 and is 32 storeys tall. The building’s structure is made out of a mixture of concrete and marble and has an eight-storey parking garage attached to it. The tower is in use as commercial offices. Marble Towers is the eighth-tallest building in Africa by pinnacle height at 152 m.

8.Pearl Dawn, South Africa

Pearl Dawn is located in Durban, South Africa.It was opened in 2010 and ties with Marble Towers at 499feet with 31 floors. The residential building was marked as a lush option for residents of South Africa with a has a futurist architectural style with a dark blue facade colour.

The Pearls is a spectacular residential resort offering luxury apartments and penthouses. Construction of The Tides and Dawn were successfully carried out and recognized as one of Durban’s most prestigious Holiday Apartments attracting influential clients, as well as holiday makers.

 9.South African Reserve Bank Building

South African Reserve Bank Building was built by Burg Doherty Bryant + Partners, the South African Reserve Bank Building and is situated at number 370 Stanza Bopape Street (previously Church Street) in the nation’s capital.

The building is the tallest in Pretoria and also the the first flush-glazed glass tower block in the Southern Hemisphere. It was completed in 1988

Architects together with a specialist from the USA and input from the PG Glass Company in South Africa designed the curtain walls. The building also has a a stainless steel, non-representational sculpture “Untitled” by Johan van Heerden which was specially commissioned to complement it.

Top ten tallest building in Africa10. Metlife Centre, South Africa

The Metlife Centre is a 28-floor, 120-metre-tall (390 ft) modernist skyscraper situated opposite the Cape Town International Convention Centre in the City Bowl area of Cape Town, South Africa.

The  Centre Tower has a 22m tall spired antenna on the building’s roof that was lifted into place by a helicopter just prior to its completion in 1993.


Privatize Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae

Mark Calabria, currently Vice President Mike Pence’s chief economist, is President Trump’s nominee to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The FHFA is the chief regulator of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored enterprises.

Calabria is a longtime advocate for ending government ownership of the GSEs. He further supports reforms that would greatly diminish the two firms’ dominance in the mortgage market. Such reforms are long overdue and would be a welcome sign for the stability of U.S. financial markets.

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The GSEs played an important role in fomenting the financial crisis. The mortgage market is not now characterized by the reckless underwriting practices that were dominant in the years leading up to the crisis. However, the GSEs are still severely undercapitalized and continue to play an outsized role in the mortgage market. The risk posed to taxpayers, and to economic stability, remain.

Proposals to remove the GSEs from the government’s balance sheet have enjoyed support from both parties. Yet, no action has been taken. One reason may be that the GSEs have been quite profitable in recent years. The terms of the conservatorship stipulate that profits are turned over to the Treasury. Thus far, the Treasury has reaped $286 billion in profits from the GSEs.

Politicians may also resist reform because the GSEs have served as vehicles for pushing policy objectives, while obscuring the costs to taxpayers. For example, the government pushed policies, such as affordable housing goals and the Community Reinvestment Act, which mandated that the GSEs expand high-risk borrowing.

In September of 2008, the FHFA, then only in its first few days of operation, placed the GSEs into conservatorship. This was seen as an emergency measure to prevent the housing market from going into a tailspin. It was meant to be a temporary measure, but to this day the U.S. Treasury has maintained a 79.9 percent ownership stake in the two corporations.

However, a sharp drop in house prices could result in widespread default. Prior to the crisis, regulators required the GSEs to hold economic capital, that is, liquid low-risk investments, to protect against large-scale default. Alas, the required levels were far too low. Under government conservatorship, the GSEs are only permitted to hold nominal capital reserves.

If the GSEs are too lax in the standards for loans that they back, instability cascades through the market. As the early 2000s demonstrated, mortgage originators often have little concern for borrower risk, provided the GSEs, or other backers, are willing to guarantee their loans.

The GSEs need to hold adequate capital was attenuated because of their implicit backing from the federal government. The strength of their government charter was reinforced by the reported $200 million spent on lobbying and campaign contributions over the decade preceding their collapse.

Because of their government backing, and the competitive advantage it afforded, they were able to grow far larger than otherwise. At the time of the crisis, they owned or guaranteed more than $5 trillion in mortgage debt, making them critical to the functioning of mortgage finance, or “Too Big to Fail.”

To reduce the risk to financial market and taxpayers alike, the government should allow the GSEs to recapitalize and then remove them from the government’s books. Fannie and Freddie’s government charters should be revoked. Both should be spun off into much smaller entities that do not pose systemic risk to the economy.

Source: Seth H. Giertz is an associate professor of economics and a Senior Research Fellow with the Colloquium for the Advancement of Free-Enterprise Education (CAFÉ), both at the University of Texas at Dallas.


Decades ago, the kitchen was hidden in the back of the house. It was a place where meals were prepared and dirty dishes were washed. Fast forward to 2019 and the kitchen has a much different role. Today, the kitchen is the focal point of the home, the place that brings everyone together at the start of the day or after a long day way.  Now instead, the kitchen is paraded in all its beauty and warmth at the very center of the house.

Kitchens have changed a lot over the decades and planning for your kitchen remodel is very important. Technology advances and changing social dynamics have contributed greatly to the rise of the modern kitchen. There is a far bigger focus on open concept homes that revolve around the kitchen so everyone can be together. As with any modern design trend, clean and simple styles have become favorites for homeowners with natural light becoming an essential aspect of the overall look and function of the kitchen space.

With advice from design experts, here are the top 10 trends in kitchen design we expect to see in 2019.

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1. Smart Kitchens

Technology has entered the kitchen in full force and not just in the form of fancy gadgets and appliances. Today, you can have a kitchen with technology integrated into every function and appliance–from the faucets to the fridge to the lighting. This is what we call a smart kitchen.

Smart kitchens are an evolving aspect of design. In fact, a lot of kitchens today are built smart from the ground up. For older kitchens, sensors, smart gadgets and other devices can be added to for convenience to the homeowner.

Easy add-ons are motion sense-equipped kitchen faucets that can sense the presence of hands underneath and will come on automatically or try a one-touch feature. Refrigerators that can alert you when your groceries items are running low or a coffee maker programmed to have your coffee ready when you wake up. There is also a gadget that monitors your eggs, telling you which ones are almost going bad. Do not forget to update your lighting system–allowing you to control all the lights from your smartphone or tablet.

Technology integrated kitchens are becoming more popular as homeowners experiment with novel technologies. This is one of the biggest trends going into 2018.

2. Cabinet Colors: Dark Colors Are Finally Here & White Is On Its Way Out!

Although white cabinets are a classic look that can be used in almost any kind of kitchen style, we are slowly starting to see them on the way out! We expect white to start declining in popularity throughout 2019 .To break up the all-white kitchen expect to see islands in a variety of different paint colors or wood stain colors. The mixing of finishes create a needed accent piece and additional pops-of-color for the brave of heart.
These pops-of-colors will be most popular in shades of blue and green. In addition to these neutral nature shades is another color palette that is making its way into the kitchen–dark jewel tones: black, navy, emerald green and even plum. It will surprise you at how well dark kitchen cabinets can work in and/or enhance a kitchen space with its dramatic and luxurious feel.
Dark kitchen cabinets portray full-on elegance and a deep rich luxurious atmosphere that the other options just don’t. They cast the kitchen in a subtle dramatic essence. However, you have to be careful that it does not overpower the room, making it feel perpetually dark. But more and more homeowners are getting bolder and opting for a kitchen with dark cabinet colors in 2019. Expect to see tons of black and darker color shades in the trendiest home of 2019.

3. Streamlined Designs, Materials and Textures

While styles like farmhouse and mid-century modern are still popular, homeowners are getting more streamlined in their overall aesthetic, designs and alternative materials for kitchens. Stress-free environments are what you would like to come home too, and drown out the day to day stresses of life.  Which usually means, simplicity. Simple looks are all about modern clean lines. They will continue to be a huge hit throughout 2019.  Take a look at our home remodelling portfolio for design ideas.

Removing upper wall cabinets has become a growing trend in the last few years since it opens up the visual space making the kitchen appear much larger and brighter.  It allows you to utilize the countertop space more productively.  Not to mention, most people can’t reach what is on the top shelves of the cabinetry anyway.  Although open shelves would be a great alternative if the added storage space is needed or a focal point element was desired.

When we say streamlined, we don’t want to equate that with boring. So, consider materials with texture.  If you are using open shelving, rough cut wood to bring in natural elements or metal tubing for a more industrial attitude. Floor tiles in a natural stone or backsplash tiles that are sculpted, beveled, or stacked make for the perfect focal point.  These interesting textures are very different than the usual polished or glossy finishes we see everywhere. You may even want to consider a ceiling treatment to bring in that added punch.  Coffered, tray, and wood beams are the perfect choices to consider.

4. Quartz is Still King

For high-end kitchen countertops, quartz still reigns supreme. The material is extremely hardy, can last virtually forever, is a breeze to maintain and is anti-microbial. Granite, the main competitor in the high-end bracket, requires slightly more maintenance.

When quartz countertops first came into the market, the main worry was lack of variety in terms of colors and finishes. But with time, thanks to technology, manufacturers have provided a wide range of colors to choose from as well as realistic stone patterns. You can even get quartz finished with elaborate swirls and large veining to imitate other materials like natural stone. These unique styles have become immensely popular.

But there is a notable trend toward softer and more neutral colors. More and more homeowners are opting for colors like: grey, taupe, creamy or white finishes. The pattern preferences have changed to veining from particulates that we’ve seen in past years. This definitely follows the trend towards cleaner styles seen in most home spaces.

While we are still on the topic of countertops, it is important to mention the rising popularity of composite sinks. These are sinks made from the same material as the countertop.  This creates a cleaner uniform look and makes cleaning and maintenance much easier. However, it is going to be a tough battle against the still very popular stainless steel and farmhouse sinks.

5. Effective Storage Solution Cabinetry

One of the biggest annoyances with kitchen cabinetry is the unnecessary waste of space. The way the basic shelves and drawers are structured leaves a lot of wasted space. Worst of all, available space is often too small for some of your larger things or the opposite: it’s too wide and does not give you a way to properly and efficiently organize the space.

One of the foundations to a functional kitchen is kitchen storage. If it is inadequate or ineffective, you will be faced with endless frustrations and challenges. To counter these storage challenges, homeowners are starting to look for better storage solutions within the cabinetry. These can include: appliances garages for small appliance, drawer dividers for cutlery & utensils, pull-outs for spices, tray dividers, roll-out trays and caddies for pots & pans; as well as wastebasket cabinets for garbage and recyclables and/or deep drawers. These will make it easier to store foods, drinks and small appliances.

6. Appliances: New Styles and Preferences

Appliance styles, just like the rest of the kitchen, are making big changes too! Long gone are the days of matching silver toned appliances. In 2019, we expect to see appliances in a variety of colors and finishes. In fact, typical stainless steel appliance sets will begin to make your home appear very dated.   Stainless steel appliances have dominated the market for quite some time, so seeing a different finish come into play is not surprising. In fact, typical stainless steel appliance sets will begin to make your home appear very dated. To stay ahead of the trend, go with pops of unique colors and get creative with mismatching. Some of the most expensive and stylish stoves out right now are featured in ruby reds and bright blues. While we understand this might not match with every homeowner’s personal tastes, we encourage you to take back this retro trend and make it your own.  Traditionally appliances are sold in suites, but it is becoming more popular to find a vintage styled refrigerator sold individually   This is definitely a departure from the once traditional all-white appliances. However, homeowners seem willing to experiment with a wider range of tones around the kitchen these days.

Even the interest in “must-have” commercial ranges seems to be fading a little. More and more kitchens want to include induction cook-tops with separate single wall ovens. This trend can be more expensive than commercial ranges and often take up more space. But as in many of these trends, aesthetics is a major issue.   More homeowners are wanting a changeover from the more common commercial range look.

Changes are also happening in the oven world.  Steam ovens are fast becoming the new “must-have” appliance. They cook food much faster, retain food nutrients and flavor better than conventional ovens. Leaving your meals juicy and delicious just like if you were dining out.  Are you limited on aisle space, then consider getting a French Door wall oven.  Not only are they stylish looking they can come equipped with Bluetooth so that you can control oven functions remotely from your smartphone.  Stuck in traffic, worry no more.

7. Hardwood Flooring is Still the Shining Star but Ceramic Tile is on its Heels

Hardwood flooring is still very popular when it comes to kitchen flooring. But the second most popular option, ceramic flooring, is about to get more attention. Thanks to technology, ceramic flooring now comes in a wide variety of designs and styles and sizes.

For example, you can get ceramic tiles that look exactly like hardwood flooring. So if you want to retain the hardwood look but wanted a material that is easier to maintain, consider using ceramic. In addition to wood, ceramic tiles can be designed to resemble a range of other materials including natural stone. Even the surface texture is changed to mimic these materials.

In terms of size, you do not have to go for traditional sizing any longer. It seems like the sky is the limit with variety and larger format tiles. You can get single plank tiles that resemble actual wide planks of hardwood once laid down on the floor. Or you can get custom cut tiles to create a uniquely patterned kitchen.

8. Single Level Multipurpose Kitchen Islands

Kitchen islands are no longer an afterthought or something small to squeeze into the space. They have become focal points and the hub of the kitchen. One of the changes emerging is the single level larger sizing, serving multiple uses; especially since we are seeing less wall cabinet space in kitchen design. The kitchen island is meant to create an impact, and its design must make a statement.

The 2018 larger kitchen islands will become the jack-of-all-trades. They will have storage solution cabinets and be fitted with various under-counter appliances while also providing seating–serving as a casual dining and/or drinking bar. To accommodate the increased size, we are seeing a tendency for the kitchen island to extend into living room spaces in homes with open plan designs. This ensures the kitchen island can be multi-functional without cluttering up space in the kitchen.

9. Beautiful Backsplash Trends

Backsplashes can be a fun part of the house to decorate. However, these tile backsplashes in kitchens always seem to have new trends and styles. With all the constant change, who can keep up? We are here to help, with your guide to 2019 backsplash trends and styles.

First things first, subway tiles are out! Okay maybe not completely out, but if homeowners are using them these days, then they are using larger ones. People are moving on to larger slabs of tiles and tiles with various textures or patterns. The color choices are endless here. It just depends on the other colors you choose in your kitchen and of course personal taste. A pop of color would be very trendy right now and allows you to get more creative with your design. Neutral patterns with natural texture is another option for those looking for a classic look.

Another big change we’re seeing in tile backsplashes are their size and the portion of wall they are covering. Large slabs are taking over. These slabs can be marble, quartz, wood, copper, stainless steel, glass…. the list goes on forever! Regarding wall coverage, backsplashes are rising to the ceiling. With upper cabinets on their way out, homeowners are left with more wall space. When it comes to decorating this space, tile backsplashes are a popular choice.

10. Connecting With The Great Outdoors

Literally! Homeowners are connecting the kitchen to an outdoor space or patio. They are also adding entry points from the kitchen to outside entertainment areas. By installing a glass door in your kitchen, you can easily connect these two spaces in your home.


Why Single Women Cannot Rent Property In Nigeria

The parochial and retrogressive patriarchal attitudes that are still prevalent in the Nigerian society are deeply repulsive as they put women at a disadvantaged position in life. In Nigeria, the thought propagated by patriarchy is that single women should not rent property. Hence, it is extremely difficult for single women to rent property in Nigeria.

Finding property to rent is a nightmare experience for single women in Nigeria. The belief is that a woman should live in her father’s or husband’s house. Such conservative views that are backward are making life difficult for single women who would often be perceived by society as promiscuous.

StearsBusiness showed the story of Jumoke Adegbite, who found it hard to find property to rent in 2011 upon getting a new job in Lagos. She said that for one to get space, marital status almost decided everything. The landlords were of the view that unmarried women bring around a lot of male friends, and that is deciphered as promiscuity. She was shut out because she was not married, only for her parents to later come and convince the landlords that their daughter was decent. For Adegbite, all of this was absurd and did not convey anything meaningful except the rotten state of a society that holds backward views.

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Single women are not what landlords would love to have as their tenants. This stems from how the society is fashioned in Nigeria, clad with deep and long-held beliefs that women are inferior to men and as such men should police the activities of women. Women are expected to conform to certain moral standards, and failure to comply with that summons scorn and despicability on the woman. The woman is expected to move from her father’s house to her husband’s house, in what is widely viewed as a nicely executed plot to keep women under the tentacles of patriarchy.

“Ninety-nine per cent of the landlords I met did not want to rent to me because I am a single woman. Most landlords and agents would tell me, ‘Can you bring your boyfriend or your husband?’ In these kinds of apartments, we don’t like boys coming in. We just want decent people” Ogungbile, who is a 31-year old project administrator with the Ogun State Government remarked.

“In my office then we had a policy of not renting out properties to single women. To be considered they had to get a male reference or show up with a man,” said Shittu (not real name), a real estate associate in Lagos.

“On one occasion, a woman claimed she was married, but her husband was abroad, so she had to live alone. She rented a four bedroom duplex to her in Lekki Phase II,” he begins. “A few months later, during our general inspection, we found out that she had brought in multiple young women to live with her. The neighbours even complained that she had turned the place into a brothel.”

Another factor is that property owners and developers think that single women do not have money; that they solely depend either on their lover’s money or their father’s money and hence they would be unable to afford the rents. But when it really comes to who delays and defaults on payments, it’s men.

Society does not scrutinise men that much and everything goes easy for them, and even hands them a tacit license to philander.

But the issue is, why hold on to these old-fashioned views? The world has changed.

These views must be rooted out and society must afford equal chances for women, and in this particular case, conditions should be easy for single women to find places to rent in Nigeria.

How building information modeling is optimizing construction

Building Information Modeling (BIM) has driven a multibillion dollar paradigm shift in construction strategies, allowing firms working in every sector of the industry to build more intelligently and more efficiently. As a result of BIM, design teams, contractors and clients are collaborating more than ever before, using the same sets of information to communicate more effectively and avoid confusion throughout construction. The technology has become widely adopted around the world.

But how is BIM doing all of this, and what does it mean for data center construction?

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The billion-dollar question; what is BIM?

BIM software helps to create digital models of construction projects. The result is a building information model, which serves as a centralized store of information about the building. This information can be accessed and manipulated by the various parties involved in the project, to help them plan or even predict how various decisions will affect the rest of the project.

BIM offers teams more complete information about the project before any action is taken by construction crews. Sophisticated programs allow companies to add additional information to the BIM model including schedule, cost, and even sustainability information through the use of notes and attached documents. A report by Dodge Data & Analytics finds that large percentages of contractors are using BIM to improve their operations, including 93 percent of HVAC contractors, 91 percent of plumbing and piping contractors, and 88 percent of structural fabricators.

With BIM, teams have access to a single, authoritative source of information for every part of the planning process. In practice, this gives each party in a project unprecedented advantages. Architects can demonstrate their ideas with a comprehensive model, while showing contractors exactly what scope that idea requires. Contractors can attach estimated costs and scheduling information to the model, in order to show architects and project managers the cost and time it will take to bring their visions to life.

Though BIM has been around for over a decade, recent advances in IoT (Internet of Things) and machine learning are generating renewed excitement about the technology. With these advances, BIM is likely to once again change the way that companies work on their projects in fundamental ways, creating exciting opportunities for companies doing all kinds of construction.

Using BIM on the job

Here is how firms are using this technology to increase productivity and efficiency at present:

Collaborative models: Companies are using BIM to give their teams freedom over individual aspects of a project, while automatically coordinating information so that those models are all using up-to-date information. BIM models can be immensely detailed, down to the physical characteristics of the components designers are manipulating.

This means that if, for example, you change the color or material used for a door or floor panel, that change will be reflected across all associated models. Not only does this eliminate version control issues every time a change needs to be made to one tiny portion of the project, but it also means teams are automatically communicating with each other each time someone makes a change and addition to the BIM model. This in turn means fewer meetings and fewer phone calls to get each department caught up on the activities of other departments.

Improved documentation: When documentation can be attached to a single multidimensional document like a BIM model, information is less likely to get lost. Every team — on or off the site – can have access to every piece of relevant information, whenever they need it. This improves clarity and transparency for the entirety of the project, and also allows information to be easily accessed after the job is complete. That data can then be supplied efficiently and easily in the case of audits or inspections.

Efficient information sharing: BIM offers an unprecedented way to share the vision for a project with investors and project owners. The extremely detailed modeling made possible by BIM programs means that project goals and progress can be related visually, and often without disruptive site visits or long meetings.

Additionally, when a comprehensive BIM model is created, it has utility long after the project is over. Information on building materials, the average lifespan of components and appliances, and even proposed maintenance schedules are easily accessible at any time on a BIM model.

Revenue and ROI: BIM wouldn’t be so popular if it didn’t make sense financially. A study by Autodesk on the impact of BIM in modern construction confirms that more than 80 percent of respondents had a positive return on their investment in BIM software, while another 14 percent at least broke even.

Respondents who were using BIM for more than 50 percent of their projects reported improvements to coordination of materials, quality/performance of buildings, schedule control and reduced project error. Additionally, the study found that BIM was helping a small percentage of firms improve ROI by reducing IT costs.

Making data centers simpler

Data centers are intensive construction projects. Their design needs to be exacting, and the infrastructure needs to be extremely robust in order to prevent critical machinery from losing power or becoming damaged. Not only that, but as data center technology increases in complexity with new cooling techniques and denser server racks, data centers will need to be built and maintained differently.

Modeling projects using BIM software is the first step towards solving problems associated with these new technologies, both before and after facilities are finished. Modern data centers can now be painstakingly planned before construction ever begins. Both the models and the data from these construction projects will be accessible long after the project is over, in a form much easier to find and analyze than a series of 2D drawings.

The information from those models can efficiently answer audits, serve as benchmarks for future projects, and even help reduce the costs of renovations when data centers need upgrades. With the help of BIM, data centers have become easier to build and maintain, as the demand and complexity grows in our modern, digital economy.

Source: Eoin Byrne is an Associate at Linesight, providing cost management services in the data center sector.

The 11 Biggest Scandals in Architecture History

While scandal doesn’t hit architects quite as often as, say, politicians, the architecture profession is not immune from controversy, fraud, and even cold-blooded murder. The distinguished field has its share of bad actors who have made news with their professional or personal wrongdoings. In fact, one of the biggest scandals of the 20th century revolved around architect Stanford White, partner in the legendary firm McKim, Mead & White, which was responsible for some of New York’s famous Beaux Arts buildings. Read on to discover 11 scandals that had the architecture community—and the world—talking.

11. The Poulson Affair

British architect John Poulson caused an uproar in 1972 when it was revealed that he had been bribing public figures. He was arrested in 1973 on corruption charges, and his 52-day long trial cost £1.25 million. He was sentenced to five years in prison and later pled guilty to nine additional charges of corruption and conspiracy, which added two more years to his sentence. Two others were jailed and Home Secretary Reginald Maudling was forced to resign. Over 300 people were implicated in the affair.

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10. Eiffel Panama Scandal

Around the time Gustave Eiffel was building his iconic tower in Paris, he was also embroiled in a scandal across the Atlantic. Eiffel had been hired in 1887 to design the locks for the Panama Canal, but by 1889, the Panama Canal Company had gone bankrupt after mismanagement by its leader, Ferdinand de Lesseps. Eiffel and members of the company’s management were charged with raising money under false pretenses and misuse of funds. He was found guilty of the latter charge in 1893 and sentenced to two years in prison, but was acquitted on appeal.

9. Louis Kahn’s Families Architect

Louis Kahn produced many iconic projects during his lifetime including the Yale University Art Gallery, the Salk Institute, and the Kimbell Art Museum. In 2003, his son Nathaniel Kahn released the documentary My Architect, which explored the personal life of Kahn, including the fact that he had three families. Kahn married his wife, Ester, in 1930 and they had a daughter, Sue Ann. He also had a daughter, Alexandra, with architect Anne Tyng, and son Nathaniel with landscape designer Harriet Pattison. The families knew about one another and lived a few miles apart, although the children did not meet until Kahn’s funeral.

8. Murder at Taliesin

Frank Lloyd Wright’s personal life was almost as famous as his buildings. In 1909, Wright left his wife and children and ran off with Martha “Mamah” Cheney, a client’s wife. In 1911, they settled at Taliesin, a retreat he was building in Spring Green, Wisconsin. Several years later, Wright took a trip to Chicago, leaving Cheney and her visiting children behind. While he was gone, a houseman set fire to the building and then murdered them with an axe as they tried to flee. Wright later rebuilt Taliesin and lived there with his third wife.

7. John Hancock Tower

Boston’s John Hancock Tower was plagued by controversy from the very beginning. Designed by Henry Cobb of the firm Pei Cobb Freed, the 60-story building faced initial opposition over concerns that it would cast a shadow on the historic Trinity Church. (The church later sued John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance for damage caused during construction of the tower.) But the real trouble started once the building was under construction. Glass window panes, each weighing 500 pounds, began to fall during high winds. The missing windows were temporarily replaced with plywood, earning the building the nickname “Plywood Palace.” All 10,344 windows were replaced. A tuned mass damper had to be installed when it was discovered that the building was swaying too much—causing motion sickness in the upper floors’ occupants. Perhaps most the most shocking issue of all was Swiss engineer Bruno Thurlimann’s conclusion that under certain, rare wind conditions, the building could fall over. Five million dollars worth of steel braces were installed to ensure its structural integrity.

6. Richard Meier

In the wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, the architecture industry was forced to reckon with its own history of gender inequality and sexual harassment in the workplace. In March of 2018, Richard Meier was accused of sexual harassment by five women, including four who worked for his firm. Meier took a leave of absence and later stepped down from his eponymous firm.

5. Japanese Building Scandal

In 2006, a scandal erupted in Japan when it was discovered that the earthquake-resistance data had been fabricated during the construction of dozens of hotels and residential buildings. Architect Hidetsugu Aneha was found by the court to have falsified data since 1996. He was sentenced to six years in prison and fined 1.8 million yen. Several buildings have been torn down as a result of the scandal and the country’s Architect Certification Law was revised.

4. Operation Vandelay Industries

Paul J. Newman had a successful and award-winning career in architecture in Troy, New York. But there was one problem: He wasn’t a licensed architect. In 2017, then State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman indicted Newman on 58 counts, following a two-year investigation nicknamed Operation Vandelay Industries, a nod to George Costanza’s fake latex company on Seinfeld. Newman pled guilty to six counts and was sentenced to two and a half to seven years in prison.

3. Henri Patrick Devillers

French architect Henri Patrick Devillers became involved with an international scandal in 2012, when he was detained in Cambodia at the request of China for his ties to Chinese politician Bo Xilai and his wife, Gu Kailai. Devillers and British businessman Neil Heywood both served as fixers for Bo, and Heywood was found dead in a hotel room in China in 2011. Gu was charged with the murder and Devillers was a cooperating witness at the trial. Gu was found guilty and is serving a life sentence. The affair returned to the spotlight in 2016, when a real-estate transaction involving Gu, Heywood, and Devillers came to light during the leak of the Panama Papers.

2. The Cloud

There are plenty of designs that cause debate, but every so often, there’s a design that causes an uproar. Back in 2011, Dutch architecture firm MVRDV unveiled the design for a pair of residential buildings called the Cloud in South Korea. The square towers were connected by a “pixelated cloud,” making the entire structure resemble the Twin Towers during the attacks of September 11. The firm apologized and the the complex still has not been built.

1. The Crime of the Century

Six years into the 1900s there was already a murder so sensational it was dubbed “the Crime of the Century.” On June 25, 1906, architect Stanford White was murdered at the rooftop theater of Madison Square Garden by Harry K. Thaw, the husband of Evelyn Nesbit, model, actress, and chorus girl. White had sexually assaulted Nesbit when she was 15 or 16 and Thaw, a violent and mentally unstable man, had a longstanding grudge against him. The subsequent trial captivated the nation, and Thaw was eventually found not guilty on the grounds of insanity.


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