●Edition 3: Moving Away
Nov. 23–24 2018
Film and Symposium

bauhaus imaginista. Moving Away: Decolonizing the Campus, Lagos

  • Goethe-Institut Nigeria
  • Gallery 16/16
  • University of Lagos
  • Obafemi Awolowo University

The symposium Decolonizing the Campus was held in Lagos on 23 and 24 November 2018, in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut Nigeria, Gallery 16/16, the Department of Architecture at the University of Lagos and Obafemi Awolowo University, Osun State, Nigeria. Through dialogue between local and international architects and scholars, the symposium offered a critical dialogue on design pedagogy and campus construction as practiced at the start of Nigeria’s transition to independence.

Ife-Campus, Nigeria, Film Still from Zvi Efrat's film, photo: © Keren Kuenberg.

The Decolonizing the Campus symposium focussed in particular on Obafemi Awolowo University. Founded in 1961 as the University of Ife in protest against British education policy in place at the end of colonial rule, it was, significantly, the first post-independence university in Nigeria to possess an architecture faculty. The Israeli architect Zvi Efrat was commissioned by bauhaus imaginista to conduct on-site research and produce a short film about the development of the University of Ife campus, which was designed by Bauhaus graduate Arieh Sharon together with a team of Nigerian architects (including Lagos-based architect A. A. Egbor).

Ife-Campus, Nigeria, Film Still from Zvi Efrat's film, photo: © Keren Kuenberg.

Sharon completed his studies at Bauhaus Dessau in 1931, returning to Palestine where he was subsequently appointed head of the State Planning Authority after Israeli Independence. His involvement with Ife campus was part of Israel’s development aid programs in Sub-Saharan Africa. Sharon and his team designed the University of Ife campus over a twenty- year period lasting into the 1980s. How did the resulting campus in the ancient town Ife-Ile differ from colonial era campus architecture built? How was the Ile-Ife Campus perceived by local students and architects and how does it function today?

Speakers at the symposium Moving Away. Decolonizing the Campus included the architects, curators and theorists Bayo Amole (Obafemi Awolowo University), Abimbola Asojo (University of Minnesota), Regina Bittner (Bauhaus Dessau Foundation), Zvi Efrat (Efrat-Kowalsky Architects, Tel Aviv), Babatunde E. Jaiyeoba (Obafemi Awolowo University), Hannah Le Roux (University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg) and Cordelia O. Osasona (Obafemi Awolowo University).

The symposium was curated by Marion von Osten (Berlin) and Zvi Efrat (Tel Aviv), in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut Nigeria.

Ife-Campus, Nigeria, Film Still from Zvi Efrat's film, photo: © Keren Kuenberg.

●Event documentation
Decolonizing the Campus — Symposium Program

November 23, evening at Gallery 16/16


Presentation of bauhaus imaginista by Marion von Osten
including a discussion with Zvi Efrat on his new film project


November 24, Symposium at University of Lagos, Tayo Aderinokun Hall → more

●Artist Work
Scenes from the Most Beautiful Campus in Africa — A Film about the Ife Campus

Zvi Efrat, 2019, film stills from the exhibition video projection, 25 min, color, sound, English.
Courtesy of the artist. → more

●Event Documentation
Questions of the Audience to the Speakers

The audience of the workshop bauhaus imaginista. Moving Away: Decolonizing the Campus could ask questions to the speaker. And they did. → more

●Slide Show
Impressions from the Ile-Ife Campus
●Slide Show
Photo Documentation of the Workshop and Symposium in Lagos
●Slide Show
Photo Documentation of the Movie Screening and Talk at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife Osin State, Nigeria

Photo documentation of the symposium at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife Osin State, Nigeria → more

Video Documentation of the Talk at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife Osin State, Nigeria

Video documentation of the conference bauhaus imaginista: Moving Away. Decolonizing the Campus at Obafemi Awolowo University, Lagos. → more

●Locations and Partners
Locations and Partners of the Symposium in Lagos

The opening program of the symposium is hosted by Gallery 16/16, Lagos.


The symposium talks take place at the Department for Architcture at University of Lagos and Obafemi Awolowo University, Osun State, Nigeria.


The Goethe-Institut Nigeria is bauhaus imaginista's partner for the symposium and film screening event in Lagos. → more

●Related Articles
The Legacy of Arieh Sharon’s Postcolonial Modernist Architecture at the Obafemi Awolowo University Campus in Ile-Ife Nigeria

The significance of Arieh Sharon’s postcolonial modernist architecture at Obafemi Awolowo University Campus at Ile-Ife is multi-dimensional. Built between 1960 and 1978, at first glance the campus core consists of an ensemble of modernist buildings. In this article Bayo Amole examines some of the physical and conceptual characteristics of the campus master plan and core area design in order to illustrate their significance as examples of postcolonial modernist architecture—identifying the most important aspects of their legacy, which has continued to guide the design of the campus as it has developed over the course of more than a half century. → more

The New Culture School for Arts and Design — Launched in 1995

The New Culture School for Arts and Design in Ibadan, Nigeria has involved the development and construction of a space for creative people working in many different media in order to advance their professional proficiency in the fine arts, theater, music, film, photography, design, writing and more. → more

A Hot Topic — Tropical Architecture and Its Aftermath

Both the tropical architecture discourse in general and British notions of modernism in particular were embedded in larger discussions on climatic and culturally sensitive approaches to building developed within the International Congresses of Modern Architecture (Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne—CIAM) from the 1950s onward—notions rooted in the hygienic and medical discourses of colonial occupation. → more

Bauhaus Modernism and the Nigerian Connection — The Socio-Political Context of Arieh Sharon and the University Of Ife Design

It should be considered “against the run of play” for a Bauhaus-trained Israeli architect such as Arieh Sharon to have been named designer of the post-independence University of Ife. This paper examines how developments in the socio-political context of Nigeria and international politics—including history and policies in the education sector—“constructed” Sharon’s involvement in the University of Ife design and the spread of Bauhaus modernism to tropical architecture. → more

Nigerian Campus Design — A Juxtaposition of Traditional and Contemporary Architecture

The early to mid-twentieth century saw the International Style and modernism rapidly influence major Nigerian cities and towns, first as a result of colonialism and then independence. Discussing the architecture of two first-generation Nigerian Universities, the University of Ibadan and Obafemi Awolowo University, this article builds upon the established discourse concerning how architects assimilated the International Style into the tropical climate and sociocultural context of Nigeria. → more

Tropical Architecture / Building Skin

Like the modernist architecture that preceded it, tropical architecture was co-defined with modern bodies and the bodies of the tropics: initially those of colonizers but soon colonized bodies as well. The technologies of tropical architecture, based on a modernist rationalism adapted to tropical climatic conditions, were, in turn, offered as a developmental asset to colonized subjects, especially young people. → more

Beyond Cement and Iron — Contextualizing Israeli Architecture in Africa

My focus on construction and planning is not incidental. These fields played a crucial role in space-shaping processes during the first decades of the Israeli state, as well as in the construction of the territorial identity of its new citizens. Simultaneously, during the 1960s, the modernist construction projects undertaken in African countries post-independence were also evidence of a desire amongst newly independent African nations for postcolonial national unity. → more

Colonial Architecture in Ile-Ife

The architectural heritage credited to the colonial intervention of the British in Nigeria is a blend of features imported by Europeans accustomed to a temperate climate, mixed with adaptations derived from the principles of modern architecture and concessions to the region’s tropical climate. As such, colonial buildings of this era can be regarded as a hybrid architectural style. → more

Nation Building through Campus Architecture — Israeli Architects Arieh Sharon and Eldar Sharon’s Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Campus in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, 1962–1976

The campus of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Nigeria, the first phase of which was built between 1962 and 1972, is a fascinating example of modernist architecture in Africa. As a case study of Africa’s assimilation of the modern style, its design is intriguing also due to the fact that it was built by Israeli architect Arieh Sharon (1900–1984), aided by his son, Eldar Sharon (1933–1994). → more