Founder – Principal
NLÉ is led by Kunlé Adeyemi, an architect, designer and ‘urbanist’ with a track record of conceiving and completing high profile, high quality projects internationally. His recent work includes ‘Makoko Floating School’, an innovative, prototype, floating structure located on the lagoon heart of Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos. This acclaimed project is part of an extensive research project – ‘African Water Cities’. NLÉ is currently developing a number of urban, research and architectural projects in Africa; one of which is Chicoco Radio Media Center; the amphibious building in Delta city of Port Harcourt in Nigeria.
Born and raised in Nigeria, Adeyemi studied architecture at the University of Lagos where he began his early practice, before joining the world renowned Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) in 2002. At OMA, working closely with founder Rem Koolhaas for nearly a decade, he led the design, development and execution of numerous projects in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Among these projects were the award winning Samsung Museum of Art, the Seoul National University Museum, NM Rothschild Bank in London, Shenzhen Stock Exchange tower in China, Prada Transformer in South Korea, Qatar National Library, Qatar Foundation Headquarters and the 4th Mainland Bridge and master plan in Lagos. Adeyemi was responsible for critical stages in design and realization of these projects. This involved leading OMA’s design team, coordinating a diverse global network of stakeholders and experts collaborators, including Arup for Engineering and Davis Langdon (AECOM) on cost matters.
Kunlé Adeyemi is 2014 Baird Distinguished Visiting Critic of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, teaching and researching ‘Water & The City’. Previously he was the 2011 Callison Distinguished Visiting Lecturer of the University of Washington, teaching and researching ‘The Modern City in the Age of Globalization’ in Chandigarh – India’s first planned modern city. His main area of academic interest is in developing cities of the global south. He has pursued and developed this issue via a number of research papers and study opportunities. They include a post-professional degree from Princeton University in the US, where with Peter Eisenman he investigated rapid urbanization and the role of market economies in developing cities of the global South, focusing on Lagos.
His hypothesis ‘Urban Crawl’ published in the Log Journal, is a critical exposé on architecture and urbanism in emerging megacities of the global south, which also unravels the complex urban conditions and operative mechanisms of such cities.
His knowledge and opinions in this area are much sought after. Consequently, he has acted as a speaker and visiting critic at prestigious institutions such as the Guggenheim New York, Harvard University, MIT, the Cooper Union, the School of Oriental and African Studies, the Architectural Association in London, ETH in Zurich, Chandigarh College of Architecture in India and Delft Technical University in the Netherlands.