Cristina Seilern's practice lands more Nigerian work
London-based Studio Seilern has revealed images of its third project in Nigeria
The AJ reported in February that the practice, which is now thinking of opening an office in Africa, had seen off competition from US and local practices to win the $19million (£12m) mixed-use Banana Island scheme in Lagos.
Since then Studio Seilern has won a masterplanning project in the Nigerian capital Abuja, and a private holiday residence on Lekki beach.
The practice has also worked in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Ghana and hopes to win more work on the continent.
Christina Seilern, who founded the firm in 2005 after eight years at Rafael Vinoly Architects, told AJ she was thinking of opening an African office.
‘At the moment we do all our work from London, but if the work continues it would make sense to open an office in Africa,’ she said this week.
‘We are in the early stages but when we get into construction phases, it is something we would think about.’
Seilern said the Nigerian market was attractive for its intelligent and ambitious clients – but warned it was not simple for UK practices to walk into it.
‘It is not an easy market to crack. We committed ourselves fully, and it is essential to have built up experience in Africa and made connections.
‘You can not just get on the internet and win work in Nigeria.’
The studio’s Abuja job involves a 35 ha mixed-use development that includes retail, residential and office space as well as a hospital.
The Lekki beach scheme, in Lagos, is aimed at a zero carbon dwelling. The practice is investigating the use of ocean water for cooling as well as solar and wind power.
‘Utilities are so unreliable in Africa that environmental principles are a necessity,’ said Seilern.
‘You have to have alternative energy sources – and clients understand why you are doing it.’