Who Are Godwin and Hopwood?

Page 1


Exploring Tropical Architecture in the Age of the Climate Crisis


Foreword: The Architecture of John Godwin and Gillian Hopwood by Ola

9 [I]

Introduction 17 [II] Commercial Climaticism: The Production of Economical and Energy-Efficient Buildings 57 [III] Typologies 79 (A) Residential and Masterplans 81 (B) Building for Industry 161 (C) Constructing an Education System 197 (D) Office Space: Godwin and Hopwood’s Role in Creating Commercial Buildings 237 [IV] Conclusion 277

Acknowledgements 290 Biography 292 Image Credits 292 Bibliography 295

Articles Referencing Godwin and Hopwood’s Work 302


The Architecture of John Godwin and Gillian Hopwood


There are few couples in the architecture profession who have worked together from their training for their entire careers, and even fewer still whose work has been near completely built in the Global South. John Godwin and Gillian Hopwood were one of this rare breed. British-born and AA-trained, their commitment to architecture, and particularly tropical design as they had been introduced to it during their studies, was total. Their professional career was centred in Nigeria, a nation which in the 1950s, at the start of their practice career, was accelerating towards self-rule. Furthermore, the country had high hopes of socio-economic fortune and progress with the discovery of oil bolstered by an emerging competent middle class who would surely have had the aspiration to engage with ideas of modernism and identity in all forms of culture and design, evidenced by the vibrant West African, literature, music and arts scenes.

The firm Godwin and Hopwood, as it was known (later it would become Godwin Hopwood Kuye), remained among the top architectural practices in Lagos in its over three decades of existence, spanning Nigeria’s economic ‘highs’ and ‘lows’. From their Boyle Street office and home, John and Gillian built up a significant architectural oeuvre across Lagos, making the practice known to most Nigerian architects of my generation. These landmark buildings included Bookshop House on Lagos Island, the WAEC building (reputed to be the first multi-storey building on Lagos mainland), and subsequently the industrial and residential planning of Agbara Estate on the outskirts of Lagos, bordering Ogun State.

As well as producing outstanding architecture, the firm was ‘the place to work’ and effectively acted as a training ground for many of Nigeria’s protégé architects, who would go on to be eminent in their own right; from Femi Majekodunmi and Frank Mbanefo in the late 1960s, to Ayo Onajide and Biola Fayemi in the ’80s – the latter has taken over the running of the practice. John Godwin’s lifelong involvement in architectural education was significant: he maintained teaching links with many architecture schools in Nigeria, particularly in Zaria and at the University of Lagos; he was also involved in teaching tours elsewhere in East Africa at the behest of the British Council. John was a dedicated teacher, always challenging his students; he was of the firm belief that the standard of architectural education in Nigeria could be improved. For a few of us he was preaching to the converted, although institutionally this was a battle which is still being fought.

Godwin and Hopwood’s involvement in heritage issues, however, has been much more successful, from the early Sunday Lagos ‘walkabout’ heritage tours – a ‘must do’ for many expatriates in Lagos – to the founding of Legacy 1995, and early work with firms and enlightened bodies to bring conservation to the fore. In a city like Lagos, which traditionally has had little time to engage with – let alone consider – the restoration of historic buildings, achieving this has been a particularly amazing feat.

My own academic specialism is in educational buildings in Africa. Godwin and Hopwood’s contribution to this area is particularly significant. While it might not have received the accolades accorded to the work of Fry and Drew, or Cubitt and Scott’s higher education buildings, the thoroughness and attention to detail evident in the designs of the UNESCO-IBRD schools programme, which the firm worked on with contributions from a close friend, Stephen Macfarlane, made it as important to the Nigerian educational landscape as the Fry and Drew schools projects are to Ghana. The school design prototypes were worked on in detail by Godwin and Hopwood in association with UNESCO

educational specialists and AA school environmental design specialists. The construction of these schools established the Federal Government Colleges network, which was built across Nigeria from the late 1960s to the late 1970s. All were designed with particular adaptation to the climate and thermal comfort. They can be found from Warri, in south-eastern Nigeria’s warm, humid climate, to Sokoto, in north-eastern Nigeria’s dry, arid, desert climate. The school projects were further developed and commissioned for construction – in Godwin and Hopwood’s style – in the hands of another Nigerian protégé architect, Alex Ekwueme, who would later go on to become vice president of Nigeria.

Gillian Hopwood’s meticulous administration of the Boyle Street office was also a renowned aspect of the firm; drawings and building details could easily be retrieved through the bespoke fine-tuned filing system. This enabled the thorough documentation of a vast proportion of all work the firm produced in Nigeria. It is fortuitous for future researchers that the archive has been moved to the CCA in Montreal. Gillian’s extensive photography collection also helped in the documentation of key buildings that are central to Godwin and Hopwood’s built legacy. John and Gillian’s co-written retrospective books, focusing on their Lagos work, are underpinned by this photographic collection.

Their long engagement with Nigeria and particularly with the early independence art scene, comprising both the Zaria School artists and the vibrant Lagos cultural art scene, meant that they did indeed become Lagosians. Their contributions included support for others, such as Demas Nwoko, which led to them writing one of the first books to recognise his contribution to architecture and art, especially in the 1990s. In 2023, Nwoko was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale of Architecture

By choosing to live and remain in Nigeria and in effect eventually naturalise as Nigerians, “Iya and Baba” Godwin, as they were affectionately known by staff, did become part of Lagos’s upper-middle-class élite society. They existed in two worlds, as Lagosians and as settled expatriates through their association with other expatriate architects and artists of the day, in particular Alan Vaughan-Richards, the expatriate teams of James Cubitt, and Fry and Drew, and the artists Ulli Beier and Susanne Wenger.

Always welcoming, and in the thick of the Lagos cultural scene, be it through Gillian’s involvement with the Lagos Soroptomists, or John’s links to the Island and Yacht Club, their kindness and willingness to support all whom they encountered was well known. As a young researcher, I benefitted from this myself, and many others whom I have known enjoyed their welcome and support.

Ben Tosland’s book manages to cover much of Godwin and Hopwood’s vast architectural oeuvre – not an easy task, but vastly helped by the many hours that he spent talking with John and Jill on Zoom during lockdown and meeting them in person afterwards. It was a pleasure to sit in on some of the online conversations, which have successfully set the context to this volume. I will always cherish the memory of John as a raconteur; his intimate knowledge of Lagos – buildings, personalities and, importantly, its climate – will not be forgotten.

This book also offers a fascinating window into their lives and the creation of their amazing architecture, which is still very much part of Lago’s built landscape. While we lost John just before the completion of this project, I think that he, as well as Gillian, and their children Tony and Carey, and all who read it, would feel happy with this volume.

Eshe,* Ben (*thank you, in Yoruba)

The Architecture of John Godwin and Gillian Hopwood
as surveyed in 1959
Map of Lagos,
Map of Nigeria and its states, as of 1996
Map of Nigeria’s climatic zones
[I] Introduction 17

John Godwin (1928–2023), and Gillian Hopwood’s (1927–), Nigerian architectural practice, founded in 1955, occupies a unique position in global and environmental histories of architecture. Godwin and Hopwood influenced development and impacted lives through their empirical approach to architecture, with a sharp focus on Nigeria. The flow of work began to ebb in the mid-1980s, and it was within this extraordinary thirty-year period that they designed, built, and worked through an era-defining time of upheaval and tumult. Against a geopolitical background coloured by chaos, their negentropic approach to architecture found itself juxtaposed with an entropic, modernising context.1 It represents the striving for progress through modernity in a country seeking independence and a new identity after the British, colonial interlude. Godwin and Hopwood’s output is unique in that they practised during the final years of colonial rule, choosing to remain in Nigeria in its newly independent state post-1960. Britain’s status as a colonial and imperial power, and its continued economic presence into the independent period, predicated and enabled Godwin and Hopwood’s influence.2 Outside this, the production of Godwin and Hopwood’s early work came within a period where Nigeria was finding its artistic and cultural identity. Much of their architecture was built in a European form, centred on the International Style, with reliance on Western networks and resulting in a hybrid architecture understood within the contexts of tropical modernism and environmentally focused design.3 Their oeuvre includes over 1,000 projects in various typologies, ranging from breweries to commercial buildings to colleges; their focus on private housing was extensive, with blocks of flats built for company workers contrasting with the private homes of wealthy individuals. As such, they contributed as much to Nigeria’s modernisation as they benefitted from it economically, providing stable careers and a thriving business. This book is the first full examination of their opus, placing their output within its historical and architectural contexts, assessing them not just as two of the most important architects to have worked in Nigeria since the end of the Second World War, but also as figures who contributed immeasurably to the wider narrative and development of architecture as a whole. (Figs. 1,2, 3)

1 Hannah Le Roux (2004), ‘Modern Architecture in PostColonial Ghana and Nigeria’, Architectural History (47:1), pp. 361–392. Le Roux summarises this geopolitical backdrop to the modern architecture of Ghana and Nigeria succinctly: ‘By 1966, less than a decade later [of the Gold Coast becoming Ghana], the leadership of both West African countries [Ghana and Nigeria] had been deposed by military coups. Ghana’s prime minister, Kwame Nkrumah, had fled to Guinea and Nigeria’s prime minister had been executed. The role of architecture within national affairs had been transformed. In the Western media, the interest in modern tropical architecture of the 1950s had faded away’.

2 Alan Vaughan-Richards (1925–1989), whose work is chronicled through the West African Builder and Architect, a journal he set up with Oluwole Olumuyiwa, is one of the few architects comparable to Godwin and Hopwood in this sense. He trained as an architect at London Polytechnic and had studied at the Architectural Association within the Department of Tropical Architecture (1954–71), set up by Otto Koenigsberger. (Vandana Baweja (2007), ‘The Beginning of a Green Architecture: Otto Koenigsberger at the Department of Tropical Architecture at the Architectural Association (AA), School of Architecture, London, UK’, in Fresh Air, 95th ACSA Annual Meeting Proceedings, pp. 527–536.

3 Tropical modernism, as a topic, is relatively new in its understanding. Recent key works include those by Daniel Barber and Jiat-Hwee Chang: Daniel Barber (2020), Modern Architecture and Climate: Design Before Air Conditioning (Princeton: Princeton University Press), and Jiat-Hwee Chang (2016), A Genealogy of Tropical Architecture (London: Routledge). Łukasz Stanek’s seminal Architecture in Global Socialism demonstrates the relationship between the foreign forms of modernism infiltrating Nigeria through Eastern European architects.

Godwin and Hopwood concerned themselves with making buildings that served their function under the guise of what has become titled tropical modernism.4 Their work partly arose out of the sociogeographic conditions of Nigeria in the 1950s, whereby many of their clients were European males who were not acclimatised to the tropical conditions but required comfort while, as Daniel Barber has said, being ‘engaged in particular modes of commerce and industrial development, with very specific lifestyle habits, gender norms, and economic and labour relations, and embodying a very specific sense of culture.’5 Through their training and links to the West, the architects that worked within their office were primarily European initially, with a consistent cohort of Nigerian architects.6 Godwin and Hopwood’s work received little critical acclaim in Western media; Hannah Le Roux has identified this as a wider theme in African architecture, whereby ten years earlier the glossy pages of the Western architectural press were covered in tropical buildings by architects such as Jane Drew, Maxwell Fry and James Cubitt.7 In her 2004 article on ‘Modern Architecture in Post-Colonial Nigeria and Ghana’, Le Roux points to the West’s distanced relationship to African architecture (i.e. the Western media was only concerned with European architects working in Nigeria, not Nigerian architects working in Nigeria), and shows that after independence in 1960 it did not concern itself at all with Nigeria in this respect.8 The murder of prime minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa in a failed military coup d’état in 1966 preceded the civil war, which began a year later and did not end until 1970.9 In part, it is due to this predisposition of the architectural press in the post-war period that Godwin and Hopwood’s work was overlooked by contemporary critics; if it were not for their own diligent archival keeping and storage, their contribution to architecture and Nigeria’s built environment would have remained unknown. This book aims to situate Godwin and Hopwood’s work within the complex narrative of Nigeria’s modernisation. In understanding modernity and modernism, Marshall Berman, in All That Is Solid Melts into Air, provides a clear distinction between modernity and modernism when discussing these two different ‘compartments’, ‘hermetically sealed off from one another’.10 He frames ‘modernisation’ as being related to politics and economics, and ‘modernism’ as ‘art, culture and sensibility’.11 This distinction is established and defined by other key thinkers on the topic, such as David Harvey, who in the Condition of Postmodernity, suggests that ‘modernism is a troubled and fluctuating aesthetic response to conditions of modernity produced by a particular process of modernisation’.12 Max

4 Daniel Barber (2020), Modern Architecture and Climate: Design Before Air Conditioning (Princeton: Princeton University Press), articulates clearly that the features that became recognisably consistent across tropical modernist buildings stemmed from Le Corbusier and the architecture being produced in Brazil in the 1930s.

5 Ibid, p. 36.

6 The Nigerianisation policy began in the 1950s and sought to lessen the reliance upon expatriate workers in the public sector. Nigerianisation affected the public sector primarily, rather than the private, but the knock-on impact meant that private firms were generally expected to follow suit.

7 Hannah Le Roux (2004), ‘Modern Architecture in PostColonial Ghana and Nigeria’, Architectural History (47:1), pp. 361–392. Le Roux also found that Western media interest in Europeans working in West Africa tailed off following the independence of these nations.

8 Ibid.

9 Ibid.

10 Marshall Berman (1983), All That Is Solid Melts into Air (London: Verso), p. 88.

11 Ibid.

12 David Harvey (1989), The Condition of Postmodernity (London: Blackwell’s), p. 99.

Introduction [I] 18
Fig. 3: John Godwin at his desk at Berkley Street in 1958 Fig. 2: Gillian Hopwood painting with watercolours on a trip to France in 1949 with fellow AA student Sheila Gibson Fig. 1: A single-point perspective photo of staff posed in the Godwin and Hopwood office; Godwin is on the left of the frame, with Hopwood central, standing at her drawing board Figs. 4–10: Images from the book Sandbank City, taken when Hopwood first arrived in Nigeria, showing the ‘traditional’ city

Weber defined the understanding of ‘rationalisation’ as an attempt to replace ‘traditions, values and emotions’ as a motivator, with actions forced by reason and logic. To an extent, this is what Godwin and Hopwood were seeking: a rational architecture, thus unintentionally connecting Weber, rationalism and modernity to each other. (Figs. 4–10)

For Godwin and Hopwood, their work sits at the nexus of the duality of modernism and modernity. Architecturally, their output contributed to modernism through the forms they created, the materials they used and the objects they formed within the Nigerian landscape. But it had a great impact on modernisation too, in the economic and political sense, both in the way their practice was situated within Lagos, employing Nigerian architects, and in the way they involved themselves in society through teaching and in organisations such as the Soroptimists. Most importantly, this desire to modernise was expressed through their clients and the types of major international company, seeking to invest in Nigeria, that they worked for. Berman, however, was relating this duality to literature, but with architecture the boundaries of his distinctions are blurred. The duality of modernism and modernisation does not make them mutually exclusive – for example, in the use of mass-produced, off-the-shelf materials shipped from Europe.13 These materials contributed to making a structure that befits ‘modernism’ and the process of trading with Europe, while the use of mass-produced items for a modern building in Nigeria promoted ‘modernisation’. The specific typologies of buildings of industry, education and commerce contributed to a Nigeria that strove to develop economically while looking out to the world, seeking advances in international relations and trade. As will be covered, when Godwin and Hopwood arrived in Nigeria, it was developing and pushing towards independence from Britain; once this had been achieved, in 1960, the process to modernise continued, manifesting itself in the urbanisation of areas including Lagos, Port Harcourt, Jos and Kaduna. (Figs. 11, 12)

Architectural Association (1945–50)

Godwin and Hopwood received Nigerian citizenship in 2014, after delaying their application in order to dissociate it from any suggestion of commercial motivation.14 In a letter to Chief Femi Majekodunmi from 2010, signed by both Godwin and Hopwood, they articulate this desire clearly by stating that ‘We have always wanted to be low profile as is appropriate for those of us privileged to live and work in a foreign country. Nevertheless we thrive within that special environment which demands impartiality, muting the urge to be partisan, while allowing us to cross barriers and mix with all shades of opinion and endeavour.’15 They both studied at the Architectural Association

13 John Godwin and Gillian Hopwood (2007), The Architecture of Demas Nwoko (Lagos: Farafina). Godwin and Hopwood elucidate further on the work of Demas Nwoko in their detailed monograph on the artist and architect (or ‘artist-designer’ as he prefers to be known). Nwoko, like Godwin and Hopwood, sought to make comfortable spaces without the use of air conditioning. Unlike them, he sought locally sourced materials and rarely resorted to off-the-shelf materials of the kind used by Godwin and Hopwood in their buildings.

14 Interview with the author, January–February 2021, in conversation on the topic of nationality and gaining Nigerian citizenship so late in their careers. Interviewed in a film about Lagos, Godwin once stated that he was a Lagosian.

15 Gillian Hopwood and John Godwin to Chief Femi Majekodunmi [letter: 1 April 2010] (unpublished notes: personal papers of Godwin and Hopwood).

(AA), between 1945 and 1950 – an exciting, pragmatic period for the school, with notable tutors such as Ove Arup, Felix Samuely and Raymond ‘Gordon’ Brown. Like his father William Jean, Godwin had entered the AA at the age of 16 on a scholarship.16 At this time, many mature architecture students whose studies had either been delayed, stymied, or pushed back owing to the Second World War were at the school too.17 In the immediate post-war period, Gordon Brown, then president of the AA (1945–48), opted to instruct the ‘seven strong practice’ of Architects’ Co-Partnership (ACP), to teach at the school, with recent graduates Leo De Syllas and Anthony Cox. ACP was appointed to replace Denys Lasdun, Jim Cadbury-Brown and Hidalgo Moya, all of whom were returning to professional practice. This consolidated the position of the school within a ‘modernist’ agenda, which had grown

16 The Chairman’s report to the council, regarding Godwin’s father’s admission to the AA, dated 26 May 1915, states that ‘The Secretary reported that he had been asked by a boy aged 16 years, William Jean Godwin, to advise him upon his position. The boy in question wished to become an architect but his parents had not the means to pay for his education; and as a consequence he had been studying at museums etc. without instruction. He had brought drawings to the Secretary which were placed before the committee, and which gave evidence of remarkable talent.’

17 More on this covered in: Patrick Zamarian (2020), The Architectural Association in the Postwar Years (London: Lund Humphries).

Fig. 11: Front page of the Daily Times announcing independence
Introduction [I] 21
Fig. 12: Advertisement for Crittall-Hope roller shutters in Nigerian newspaper

professional photography for all completed projects, thus creating a unique record of unpublished photographs, which were drawn upon for the research in this book. As well as showing the site prior to construction, their photographs depict it through the transformative process of building.

In the completed building, often well composed photographs capture the essence of the finalised project, whether this be through a single-point perspective of a particular threshold or the glittering black bodywork of an American car outside housing commissioned by Western companies. Such images portray the capitalist, utopian images their clients sought in a modernising and industrialising Nigeria and are therefore authentic representations of what it meant to strive for modernity.50 Each image tells Nigeria’s own national story in the post-war period as well as providing a source for the study of buildings that do not exist in the same state as they did when completed. Through such sources, the complex relationship of the West to Nigeria is depicted in image format, showing economically exploitative companies building and expanding in Nigeria through typical colonial practices.

As a tool, Hopwood’s own photographs are of vital importance to this study and provide a source that shows her eye for context and detail around Nigeria –and specifically where they resided in Lagos. The ability to compose and observe is evident in the number of photographs that litter the archive, from trips to Venice with the AA to the photographs she first took when roaming around Lagos in the mid-1950s. As her published compendium of Lagos shows, in A Photographer’s Odyssey: Lagos Island, 1954–2014, Godwin and Hopwood witnessed significant change to Lagos’s built environment and recognised the alterations around them while they were occurring.51 (Figs. 56–57)


Structure of the Book

Typologically structured, this book has a focus on residential, industrial, residential and commercial buildings designed by Godwin and Hopwood with a climatic focus. The first chapter seeks to contextualise their work through placing it within its architectural, Nigerian and climatic contexts while exploring their backgrounds and how and why they settled in Nigeria. In structuring it typologically, with this background context provided, hopefully it will be able to be used in several ways. Readers seeking to mine information on specific buildings or typologies are helped to contextualise the typology by the introductory statements that provide a distinct commentary to each chapter. There is a degree of cognisance in understanding how monographs are often used to support wider narratives that form around architecture, which deal with varying themes (colonialism, race, gender, climate, philosophy, theory etc.). Thus a loose narrative around Nigeria’s own narrative of modernisation in the wake of independence will be threaded through these typological studies, painting a picture in which modernity and modernism collided to further, advance and accelerate Nigeria’s progress. The scope of this work primarily covers the peak years of the practice between 1955 and 1985. Within this period, Godwin and Hopwood’s workload expanded and contracted, often because of external factors. Jobs began to ebb in the mid-1980s, and although Godwin and Hopwood remained practising, their attention turned to extracurricular activities such as teaching or Hopwood’s work with the Soroptimists. Each case study within these typological chapters falls within this thirty-year timeframe, which coincided with some of Nigeria’s most tumultuous years, against a global backdrop of change and tension.

The typologies assessed are perceived to form the social and economic forms of modernity. Each chapter will feature buildings, designed by Godwin and Hopwood, that are typically modern in style, but contributed to the creation of modernity in Nigeria. Each chapter looks specifically at materiality and the international networks that ensured that modern buildings could be constructed. The question of how these materials came together in construction is a further aspect of modernity – not only in the vast networks of international trade, but also those of labour, which means looking at those who worked on designs in the Godwin and Hopwood office and, where possible, those who worked on the building sites. Who the clients were, how they made their money, and if they were expatriates is also important and is considered throughout the book. Many of these clients were Western-based, with Godwin and Hopwood relying on a network that grew out of studying at the AA and socialising at places such as the Island Club in Lagos. This book aims to frame Godwin and Hopwood’s practice as a creator of modernity, but also as a beneficiary of Nigeria’s global position and ambition for advancement in the international community as a new, albeit ‘dysfunctional petro-state’, riddled with problems, beset by its former colonial status and the position it was left in within the context of the Cold War.

50 Edward W. Said (2000), ‘Bursts of Meaning’, in Reflections on Exile and Other Essays (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press), p. 149. In an essay focusing on John Berger, Said posits that Berger’s focus on ‘Picasso, photography and ‘ways of seeing’… aims to distinguish the authentic from the merely successful, and to save the former from the ravages of the latter.’ In this sense, Godwin and Hopwood’s work, and the photographs that act as a source for this study, are a genuine display of authenticity.

51 Gillian Hopwood (2015), A Photographer’s Odyssey: Lagos Island 1954–2014 (Lagos: Kachifo).

41 see p. 135 next page, see p. 135
56 see pp. 23 and 90

[II] Commercial Climaticism: The Production of Economical and Energy-Efficient Buildings


Centrales, the Unité d’Habitation, Robin Hood Gardens, or Park Hill in Sheffield, Godwin and Hopwood did not make any large-scale urban interventions and, unlike the architects of the above schemes, they did not theorise about urbanism in the same respect.7 As summarised in the first two chapters, their work was about the production of buildings within a capitalist framework: collaborating with clients, contractors and consultants in a typically contemporary way, leaving little room for theory in this respect and focusing, primarily, on the construction of passively ventilated buildings.

Housing in Nigeria and West Africa varied greatly in form and quantity during this period. Of the more ostentatious buildings, Ola Uduku has written about Alan Vaughan-Richards’ Ola-Oluwakitan Cottage, built in 1966, as being a move towards an exploration in form, ‘attempting to work within a freer design context’. She states that ‘by using plastic exploratory forms, aesthetically Vaughan-Richards’ buildings were unique in their merging of traditional architecture in West Africa with the modern’.8 This building differs from the status quo in this respect, with most others following a typical taxonomy of rectangular forms, set out on a clear grid with deep-set windows and the projecting eaves of either a pitched or flat roof. Denys Lasdun’s residential buildings at Tema in Ghana (with Fry and Drew), exemplify this aesthetic, and are set within a wider neighbourhood plan based around a small harbour on the Volta River with schools and recreation areas at its centre.9 In Lagos, other considerably sized areas were turned over for housing, often of a mixed-density sort, most notably at the Princes Estate, Odofin, and the Dolphin Estate in Ikoyi, with a mixture of low-rise, bungalow buildings for the middle classes behind gates, and densely packed series of four-storey apartment buildings on an orthogonal layout.10 For a country urbanising with such speed, developments, as scrutinised by the LEDB, were crucial to the city’s housing supply.

As this chapter will show, Godwin and Hopwood developed their housing typology across their careers, ranging from the small, privately funded houses of the mid-1950s and early 1960s in newly cleared areas, such as Apapa in Lagos, to high rises for large corporations including Shell and Leventis from the late 1960s onwards. Housing was a vehicle within which they could express not only modern living in terms of the social, political and economic context, but also the European forms of modernism learned at the AA. Housing commissioned by foreign companies was a lucrative market segment for Godwin and Hopwood, seeing as there were few places to rent in the quickly developing Lagos

of the 1950s.11 To ventilate a building passively, rather than with air conditioning, was partly an economic decision, given that building costs in 1950s Lagos were high in contrast to the United Kingdom, where many of Godwin and Hopwood’s clients were based. The practice continued to provide climatically sensitive buildings, utilising sunbreakers and brises-soleil, as well as materials of low thermal conductivity such as terrazzo indoors, and high thermal conductivity (aluminium), on the exterior. Much of the housing they designed across their careers was privately owned, either by single homeowners, or by companies for their employees. In a fast-developing city such as Lagos, however, passively ventilating buildings became problematic as the air pollution levels increased. In terms of form and style, the original strict grids of their own home at 27 Boyle Street and the experimentation with facades and passive ventilation led to buildings that had more flexibility to them. This is evident with the houses designed for Nigerian Brewery Limited and even more so with the house designed for Alhaji Abubakar Alhaji, the notorious finance minister, in Abuja in 1991. While there is very little information on the latter house, the same principles of recessed windows and extensive solar shading applied, but instead of an emphasis on the horizontal proportions – which generally lead to a facade that enables greater air circulation – the house emphasised the vertical proportions with inverted archways crowning the roofline; a rare instance of ornamentation within a body of work that exemplifies objectivity and empiricism.

Private Houses

All of which is justified on plans and drawings by the ‘graphic synthesis’ of body and gesture that is allegedly achievable in architectural projects. The graphic elements involved (in drawings, sections, elevations, visual tableaux with silhouettes or figures etc.), which are familiar to architects, serve as reducers of the reality they claim to represent – a reality that is in any case no more than a modality of an accepted (i.e. imposed), ‘lifestyle’ in a particular type of housing.12

7 Eric Mumford’s work on the CIAM discourse summarised the difference between dwelling and habitat as such: ‘The majority of the world’s population could ‘dwell’. Habitat… ‘should be a permanent contract between society and the individual, with reciprocal rights and obligations.’ Eric Mumford (2000), The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism, 1928–1960 (Boston: MIT Press), p. 236.

8 Ola Uduku (2006), ‘Modernist Architecture and “The Tropical” in West Africa: The Tropical Architecture Movement in West Africa, 1948–1970’, Habitat International (30), p. 407.

9 Michelle Provoost,(2016), ‘Tema: Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew’, Delft Architectural Studies on Housing (12:13), http://dash-journal.com/tema-manhean/

10 Ola Uduku (2010), ‘Lagos: “Urban Gating” as the Default Condition’ in Samer Bagaeen and Ola Uduku (eds.), Gated Communities: Social Sustainability in Contemporary and Historical Gated Developments (London: Earthscan), pp. 39–49.

11 John Godwin (2018), ‘Two Shoe Boxes, a Filing Cabinet and the Double Andrex’ (unpublished manuscript, personal papers of Godwin and Hopwood). Godwin later reflected that ‘Budgets were tight in 1955 and although 10 years earlier, with AA classmate Stephen Macfarlane, we built a three bedroom house at Chalfont St Peter within the government restricted cost/size of 1000 square feet for £1000, the average budget in Lagos for a house with a footprint of 1600 square feet including garage and all ‘mod cons’ plus two servants rooms with kitchen and shower room was nearer £8,000. It can be imagined that in company board rooms in London and Birmingham, raised hands grudgingly acceded to such an additional investment, but with virtually nothing to rent and new housing layouts being developed around the capital at low land rentals, it was difficult to find alternatives other than building their own accommodation, and with the additional cost of furniture, the minimum budget was in the order of £10,000 to house a manager, his wife and perhaps one or two young children. This did not include air-conditioning which was rarely seen for another five years when compact window units from the US were imported following Carrier’s promotion in the hot-humid southern states of America.’

12 Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space, trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith (Hoboken: Wiley Blackwell, 1991), p. 338.

Typologies Residential and Masterplans [III]
— A

The House for Dr Majekodunmi

One of the most arresting renderings by Godwin and Hopwood was drawn for their second job, a private house for Nora Majekodunmi (1917–1997), in Apapa.13 Majekodunmi was born in Ireland and moved to Nigeria (in 1944), where she married Dr Moses Adekoyejo Majekodunmi (1916–2012), the minister of health from 1960 to 1966 (educated at Trinity College Dublin); Moses was the father of the architect Femi Majekodunmi (1940–), who went on to work for Godwin and Hopwood before setting up his own successful practice.14 The private housing project, commissioned in 1955 but never built, represented a new wave of private commissions from Nigerians who had benefitted from foreign education and were now seeking to build capital within Nigeria’s growing economy as it pushed towards independence. The rendering’s composition, mixture of spaces and cultural references are all emblematic of the growth of a middle class. Its bourgeois references and objects combine with this macro-economic context in an image that encapsulates the architectural, colonial and aspirational context of the period. Yet it is also of interest purely as a drawing. The exaggerated perspective was achieved by constructing

13 Chika Okeke-Agulu explains further who Nora Majekodunmi was. She had worked with AMSAC and the Nigerian Council for the Advancement of Arts and Culture (NCAAC), established in 1959 by the federal government, which focused on the ‘preservation, revival, development and encouragement of arts and crafts, music and traditional culture’. Its board contained Nigerians and expats, including the Irish-born Majekodunmi, who had moved to Nigeria in 1943. Majekodunmi had ‘frictions’ with the Zaria Art Society artists, who by the time of independence, had won international renown. At independence, Ben Enwonwu feuded with the NCAAC over the exhibition to celebrate Nigerian autonomy, believing that the administration was ‘too slow in decolonizing, thus keeping out capable Nigerians’. Uche Okeke (1933–2016), had later written to Evelyn Brown at the Harmon Foundation, stating that he did not wish Mrs Majekodunmi to ‘judge or value my work’. Chika OkekeAgulu (2015), Postcolonial modernism: Art and Decolonization in Twentieth-Century Nigeria (Durham and London: Duke University Press), pp. 228–231.

15 John Godwin and Gillian Hopwood (2022), ‘Permitted Architects: An Introduction to the Practice Archive of John Godwin and Gillian Hopwood’ (unpublished manuscript, personal papers of Godwin and Hopwood), p. 22.

16 In a paper Godwin wrote on the private architect in Nigeria in 1959, he states that ‘It is still often difficult to convince a client that the fees he pays to his professional advisor are not merely an extra expense but his insurance that he has a person working for him who is endeavouring to see that he gets the best possible value for his money’ in: John Godwin (1959), ‘The Private Architect in Nigeria’, for the Architects’ Conference and Exhibition held in the House of Representatives: 1 April 1959 (unpublished manuscript, personal papers of Godwin and Hopwood).

14 At John Godwin’s Celebration of Life, held at St James’ Church, Clerkenwell (17 June 2023), Femi Majekodunmi eloquently spoke of his experience of working for Godwin and Hopwood, who also provided him with the first job for what would become his own very successful practice based in Lagos. a model and then photographing it. Godwin and Hopwood’s use of this method had begun with their collaborative design for a theatre school at the Architectural Association, with Hopwood’s father, a keen amateur photographer, taking images of the interior of their models from which to trace the perspectives.15 (Fig. 18) The socially ambitious and professionally established upper classes of Nigeria could afford the fees of an architect to design their private houses, despite the role’s necessity often being challenged.16 The rendering, typical of early Godwin and Hopwood drawings, particularly those that have been published of their work as students at the AA, is of an interior space and from a single-point perspective. The frame is largely occupied by a covered terrace that creates a quasi-outside space leading outwards from the living area on the left of the frame. It forms part of a procession of outside spaces from a grassed area at the rear left, seen through the living room, to the landscape beyond at the right of the frame. Apapa is an area in southern Lagos, and as such lies within a flat landscape dominated by a complex network of waterways that terminates in the Lagos Lagoon, leading to the Gulf of Guinea. Depicted in this image as an open, unenclosed expanse with a rural hinterland beyond, the surroundings of the house on Marine Road have since become densely developed, with the land to the south of the waterway occupied by Apapa Port. Today Marine Road is populated with houses firmly enclosed by boundary walls, the owners of which are mostly executives of the logistical companies associated with the port. Apapa shares many features of the traditional company town format, with the large Apapa Estate (c.1000 acres of land), completed for the port’s workers in 1957, two years after

Residential and Masterplans Typologies [III] — A 93
Fig. 18: A House for Dr Majekodunmi, perspective
Typologies Residential and Masterplans 120
Figs. 57–59: Photographs showing Mrs Manuwa’s housing, with covered outside spaces intended for living in

The Agbara Masterplan

In 1941, Sigfried Giedion wrote that ‘architects today are perfectly aware that the future of architecture is inseparably bound up with town planning. A single beautiful house or a single fine residential development accomplishes very little. Everything depends on the unified organisation of life. The interrelations between house, town, and country, or residence, labour and leisure, can no longer be left to chance. Conscious planning is demanded’.53 The Agbara Masterplan (1973), is cited as being a major breakthrough for Godwin and Hopwood, as it led to a stream of work for the remainder of their careers, with the goal of unifying Agbara on the lines of their initial conscious masterplan.54 Located thirty kilometres to the west of Lagos and around a thirty-minute drive from the border with Benin, Agbara was sited at a key location, outside the capital city, for the mass production of goods that could easily be shipped abroad. Like Tony Garnier’s Cité Industrielle, the aim at Agbara was to transform the newly urban location into a ‘productive, healthy and peaceful social environment’, through the ‘integration of industry, zoning and regional planning’.55 Such ideas have been linked to modernity and the colonial city by theorists such as Paul Rabinow, with other connections made by Rhodri Liscombe in his 2005 article on Fry and Drew’s work in West Africa  – specifically, to the dispersal of modernist planning ideals through the ‘networks associated with the British Empire-Commonwealth and its relationship to colonial policy’.56

The initial Agbara Masterplan sought to divide an area to the west of Lagos into parcels of land for varying uses. This division of uses was similar to latetwentieth-century town planning and the Garden City model – something that town planner Max Lock was doing both in Nigeria and elsewhere across the world.57 Godwin and Hopwood knew Lock from his work in Kaduna and it is likely that he influenced their approach to planning. In turn, Patrick Geddes had been a major influence on Lock, and thus at Agbara, besides the division of areas for certain uses, the influence of Geddes’s Valley Section (1910), and its forebear ‘place, folk, work’, derived from Frédéric le Play, is also apparent.58 The focus of the Valley Section is the wider make-up of the region, beginning in the mountains with mining for raw materials, leading to ‘arable crofts and sparsely dotted hamlets’ before reaching an upland village, before heading further down

53 Sigfried Giedion (1941), Space, Time and Architecture (Boston, MA: Harvard University Press), p. 25.

54 John Godwin and Gillian Hopwood (2022), ‘Agbara Estate: The Major Breakthrough for the Practice’, in ‘Permitted Architects: An Introduction to the Practice Archive of John Godwin and Gillian Hopwood’ (unpublished manuscript, personal papers of Godwin and Hopwood), p. 174.

55 Paul Rabinow (1989), French Modern: Norms and Forms of the Social Environment (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press), p. 211.

56 Rhodri Windsor Liscombe (2006), ‘modernism in Late Imperial British West Africa: The Work of Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew, 1946–56’, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians (65:2), pp. 188–215.

57 For background to Max Lock, his work in Nigeria and elsewhere see: Max Lock (1967), Kaduna, 1917, 1967, 2017. A Survey and Plan of the Capital Territory for the Government of Northern Nigeria (London: Faber and Faber); Ben Tosland (2019), ‘Planning Southern Iraq: Placing the Progressive Theories of Max Lock in Um Qasr, Margil, and Basra in the Context of Iraqi National Development, 1954–1956’, Planning Perspectives (34:6), pp. 1023–1044; Ben Tosland (2022), ‘Between Tradition and Modernity: Max Lock and the Ubullah Neighbourhood Plan’, Histories of Postwar Architecture (8:5), pp. 83–120; and Ben Tosland (2019), ‘European Architects at the Confluence of Tradition and Modernity in the Persian Gulf, 1954–1982’ (unpublished PhD thesis, University of Kent), pp. 62–107.

58 S. H. Beaver (1962), ‘The Le Play Society and Field Work’, Geography (47:3), pp. 225–240.

towards the ‘larger country town’, and finally terminating at the ‘great manufacturing city’.59 At the time of Agbara’s planning and construction, it was viewed as the ‘larger country town’ element within the Valley Section; within its own scale, it had its clear division of ‘place, folk, work’ with Godwin and Hopwood working on housing, factories and being employed to design the town centre. The regional diagram drawn by Geddes had its roots in organic development and growth; Agbara, however, was wholly man-made and funded by global, commercial companies. Following the sale of plots within the masterplan, prospective clients came calling, such as Metal Box Toyo Glass, Glaxo and Colodense – primarily industrial companies, producing packaging, pharmaceuticals and cellophane. In addition to the industrial buildings they commissioned, they required housing for their managers and factory workers.

In a paper from 2011, studying the effectiveness of the Agbara Estate, the authors wrote that ‘The overall concept of the master plan on which Agbara estate was based is the evolution of a total environment, which promotes a high standard of healthy living condition for all. Its objective was to provide a balanced new town with industrial, commercial, residential and recreational land use which are complemented by efficient infrastructure, services and community facilities. A definite character and identity were to be created for the estate through the design of industrial, commercial and residential buildings with greater emphasis placed on landscaping and maintenance.’60

Within this wider masterplan, housing plans for Nestlé, Beechams, Colodense and Lovell Stewart sought to integrate their housing with the new urban structure, with a defined town centre and factories that were easily accessible by car from the central districts. Spatially, the houses designed for companies at Agbara, such as those for Nestlé in 1981, were set out relatively far apart, allowing the generous provision of space for gardens, a communal swimming pool and a games court. Unlike the typical suburban ‘identikit’ houses associated with such a formal layout, the buildings that Godwin and Hopwood designed for employees drew on the taxonomy developed across the earlier years of their practice, of deep-set windows at ground level overlooking the garden. Upstairs, external screening and louvres with a horizontal emphasis spanned the width of the building, allowing both privacy and the capture of heat gain before it reached the interior. Being a later project and designed for unacclimatised Western workers, the buildings featured air conditioning, and unlike other earlier housing projects designed by Godwin and Hopwood, the facades were well sealed with the option of opening to allow passive ventilation. (Figs. 91–97)

59 Volker M. Welter (2002), Biopolis: Patrick Geddes and the City of Life (Cambridge, MA: MIT), pp. 60–66.

60 Olawande Oni and M. A. Adebayo (2011), ‘Neighbourhood Effects of Sustainable Industrial Land Use on Property Values: Case Study of Agbara, Ogun State, Nigeria’, Journal of Sustainable Development (4:6), pp. 230–238.

Typologies Residential and Masterplans [III] — A 144
145 see p. 68
152 see p. 254
153 see pp. 260 and 189
154 see p. 222
Fig. 76: The flank wall of Kaduna Regional Library, with its faceted facade Fig. 75: Overlooking the square at Kaduna Regional Library

In designing for comfort, exact data was a prerequisite for the effective use of techniques such as the orientation of buildings, the layering of mechanical louvres in front of glazed elements, or even screening interiors with simple, pierced, block concrete screens. It has been established that Godwin and Hopwood did not look to the glossy pages of Eurocentric industry magazines when seeking ideas and information, but relied on Building Research Station publications and notable handbooks such as Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew’s Tropical Architecture in the Humid Zone (1956), or Thomas Bedford’s Basic Principles of Ventilation and Heating (1948). From these influences, Godwin and

language through the use of English.53 In 1956, Godwin and Hopwood designed their first offices for the WAEC – initially a small extension to the existing premises in the Yaba district of Lagos; at this particular location, Godwin and Hopwood were commissioned for two further extensions to the original office blocks, including a prominent twelve-storey tower. Construction drawings show the first building as being a well-organised unit of six bays in width and two storeys in height with a protruding external staircase. The plan was modest, with an examination room, storage space for publications and a ‘bulk store’ on the ground floor, with three offices located on the first floor. A simple

Hopwood forged their own design language for tropical countries, which focused on empirical data to mediate the transit of heat and light from exterior to interior; the delicacy with which they were ultimately able to do so is evident at Kaduna Regional Library.

Administrative Buildings

Located at 21 Hussey Street, Yaba, the West African Examinations Council’s (WAEC), buildings are tall and visible within the wider cityscape. Godwin and Hopwood received seven commissions from the WAEC between 1955 and 1970, for offices and commercial space to accommodate the centralised administration required for English-speaking regions of West Africa. The background to this in Nigeria was a directive from the British government which was standardised across its colonies. This was put into law in the Education Ordinances, which sought to regulate (and homogenise), education throughout the country. Among other things, they dictated that lessons and examinations should be conducted in English, rather than other widely spoken languages such as Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo.

Founded in 1952, the WAEC’s work falls within the context of the process of ‘modernisation’ by providing a structured apparatus for the homogenisation of language and the importance placed on unifying

perspective view from the north, reminiscent of their student drawings, shows the openable windows (again centre-pivoted), in use, with the external stair and core projecting from the body of the building.54 (Fig. 77)

Further additions in 1958 and 1961 continued this design language, with an illustration of the 1958 extension being published in the Architect and Building News. The 1961 works comprised three new and distinct elements, and were of a much larger scale than the previous ones. In their placement, they created new spaces between the buildings encouraging out of doors usage, and introduced covered walkways to link the various buildings. The addition of pierced block screens, both in the characteristic elongated brick and in a less regular form similar to Unilag’s Senate House by James Cubitt and Partners, provided visual variety paired with functionality. The varied approach to the forms of solar shading and passive ventilation at the WAEC was their most experimental across the education typology. (Figs. 78–82) With the later addition, the spaces between buildings became defined, and sensitive landscaping created areas where people could spend time or meet, be they an examinee or an administrator.

53 Folasade R. Sulaiman (2012), ‘Internationalization in Education: The British Colonial Policies on Education in Nigeria 1882 – 1926’, The Journal of Sociological Research (3:2), pp. 84–101.

54 Patrick Zamarian (2020), The Architectural Association in the Postwar Years (London: Lund Humphries), p. 51.

Constructing an Education System Typologies 231
Fig. 77: Exterior perspective of the WAEC in Yaba, drawn in March 1959, with centre-pivot windows open, illustrating the reliance on passive and cross ventilation

here, with the fully thought-through elevational details of the louvres and sunbreakers having been drawn up. This response is emblematic of other buildings of this period produced by Godwin and Hopwood, as they established an almost standardised design response to future briefs. These standardised elements were meant to work with a shallow plan, which would allow significant cross ventilation; the concept was later refined in their schools, placed on cramped plots in central Lagos, and it could be rolled out over a number of storeys. Examples of this are shown in the educational chapter, in particular Christ Church Cathedral School and the Anglican Girls School at Surulere.

Electricity Corporation of Nigeria

The Electricity Corporation of Nigeria at Aba was a small, low-profile job where Godwin and Hopwood applied forms of learning and building from other typologies, such as the schools, to provide a standardised form of building that would provide a comfortable office environment. 9 The development of the Electricity Corporation of Nigeria necessitated the standardisation of electricity provision across Nigeria, though, as Godwin and Hopwood repeatedly mention in their notes, this was not as successful as it might have been, given that, across their careers, generators still had to be relied upon to top up electricity supplies. The ECN itself was a colonial creation and was serviced by British engineers and developers during its infancy.10 The offices (and houses), at Aba were based on a similar grid plan to the secondary schools developed in the late 1950s. The division into the six bays (glazed

9 John Godwin and Gillian Hopwood (2015), ‘Job Notes for Jobs 29 and 38 (unpublished manuscript, personal papers of Godwin and Hopwood), p. 1.

10 Bundle of documents regarding Electricity Corporation of Nigeria (1962), (National Archives: Ref: 4420/D/2/12).

3-2-3-3-2-3), that formed the overall modular grid of the house elevation was simple and effective in allowing cross ventilation and blocking any direct sunlight, similar in principle to Bookshop House, discussed below, and the aims of the IDA Standard (1969). Small delays in construction meant that the projects, both designed in 1957, were completed in 1960, with added dramatics when Ove Arup had disagreements with the ECN over fees for soil investigations. Architecturally, a pair of renderings for the offices and houses show similarities between the two buildings of differing typologies. Flat roofs, recessed fenestration and vegetation around the building depict an idealised, modern world of commerce and domesticity. An imported car is parked outside the house, centre-pivot windows flung open, showing what the average British expatriate to Nigeria could aspire to on a tour of duty for the Electricity Corporation. The stark rendering style of the house recalls earlier perspectives of the co-educational school produced while studying at the AA. (Figs. 8–11)

Radio Broadcasting Building, Enugu

The Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), was publicly owned and mandated by a 1957 act of parliament to provide an independent and impartial broadcasting service. The radio broadcasting building in Enugu formed part of a wider network of buildings across the country, at Lagos, Kaduna, Ibadan and Kano. Culturally, its extension was a precursor to the ambitious and fabled Wilifilms Laboratory, developed in the 1970s and run by William Onyeabor, which sought to ‘service every aspect of the record manufacturing business – from recording and record pressing, to printing and shrink-wrapping the covers…it was to be the greatest manufacturing plant in all of West Africa, and he wanted to have the best equipment the

Figs. 8–11: ECN building drawings, including plans, perspectives and elevations Fig. 9 Fig. 10
Fig. 11

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