Modernism and cultural expression in university campus design: The Nigerian example

Abimbola O. Asojo, Babatunde E. Jaiyeoba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In the early to mid-20th century as a result of colonialism and independence across Africa, modernism became prominent as urbanization rapidly affected major Nigerian cities and towns. Modernism was reflected in the public projects designed and executed by expatriate firms of modernist architects and designers for the colonialists. In literature, most of the discussion on modernism has predominantly been focused on Europe and the Americas. There is very limited information available about the African continent, especially West Africa and Nigeria. In this paper, we discuss the designs of the first generation Nigerian Universities. Our goal is to introduce audiences to cultural expression and diverse perspectives of Nigerian spaces of this era, and thus contribute to the global design discourse. We will illustrate how the designers and architects acculturated the international style into the tropical climate and sociocultural context of Nigeria. We will discuss the impact of Nigerian indigenous cultures on the site layout, building form, spatial configuration, interior and exterior relationships, materials, construction techniques, symbols and aesthetics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-35
Number of pages15
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Archnet-IJAR, International Journal of Architectural Research.


  • Architecture
  • Cultural expression
  • Design
  • Developing world
  • Modernism


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