Nigeria real estate hub correspondent, Rianat Sanni was in an interview with architect Abiodun Fatuyi to discuss the effects of technology on architecture
Read his interview below
NREH: Can we get a brief introduction of your career path?
Arc. Abiodun: My name is architect Abiodun Fatuyi. I am fully registered and I practice here in Lagos. I started my journey at the University of Lagos back in the year 2000 and I got my first degree in architecture in the year 2005, my second degree(masters in environmental design) in 2007. After my service year, I worked in some good architecture firms in Lagos for like two years before doing my professional exams. I worked for a year after my exams and started my own firm in 2013 and it’s still in existence till date.
NREH: What are the effects of technology on architecture?
Arc. Abiodun: Technology is very very key to architecture. Before now, we used to draw with our hands but we now have AutoCAD and the rest of them.
NREH: When those things were not in existence, how did you cope?
Arc. Abiodun: Then, we just drew with our hands on paper using pencils and pen.
NREH: Do you still do that now?
Arc. Abiodun: We do them in the office but we do not give it out as an end product. We just use them for rough sketches and conceptual drawings. Now, the computer can do sketches that will look like you drew it with your hands. Before, doing those drawings used to be time-consuming and physically draining because you have to be on the table for hours but now it is faster, easier and more convenient. We just can’t go back anymore. So technology has added a very important effect to architecture and it is going to take us to higher grounds.
NREH: Do you think someone who is not tech savvy can survive as an architect?
Arc. Abiodun: Yes. All he has to do is to hire someone that is tech savvy. I know a lot of bosses that know zilch about computers but they still get their jobs done. They just have to get someone who can bring their idea to fruition, that is the job of draftsmen. I won’t say they can’t survive but basically, they need it because even if you get someone to do the designs for you, you still have to be able to read it.
NREH: Do you think there can be an advancement in technology that would make architects expertise less important?
Arc. Abiodun: No. An architect is an architect because of his creativity not because he knows how to use technology. What you are paying him for is his ideas and ability to bring his creativity to life. We have different designs online but you know where it won’t work for you? the land size. There are different land sizes and different designs that fit into different land sizes.
NREH: Are you saying we can’t get that with technology?
Arc. Abiodun: You can but you would still need to adjust one thing or the other to fit your taste. It’s just like saying can technology sow you a cloth? Maybe yes but it might not still fit you. Some clients would say they want a bigger room or a bigger kitchen e.t.c. All these things have to be in place. The job of an architect is to put all your ideas together to suit your brief.
NREH: Let’s use fashion as an example. Someone who wears a size 8 will just make an order online based on that and it would fit perfectly. Are you saying architects cannot make use of that kind of approach?
Arc. Abiodun: Not in all cases. There was a time I bought a dress for a friend. She is very petite and wears a size 6. I bought a US size 6 for her and it was bigger. It was so big she could not even wear it. She had to give it to a tailor to slim it down for her but joking apart, there is a size 6 European, a size 6 London and a size 6 USA. You need to know which of them suits you. They may tell you not to worry that technology will soon take over architecture and the whole world but for now and for the current generation, it is what it is. You can never underscore technology though and you can’t say this is what technology cannot do. I just know one thing for sure, the importance of an architect is very key because their job is to make sure your building fits your imagination. It is going to be a very tough contest to push architects out of the market with technology because they still have to put in their thoughts and process to give us a result.
NREH: Are there any training/research centers to explore passive and active technologies with innovations in architecture in Nigeria?
Arc. Abiodun: There are various training centers like Autodesk who take courses like Autocad, architecture sketch and other relevant courses in architecture where young people go to learn. It is just like going to computer training centers. They are almost everywhere. In the beginning, it was quite expensive because you won’t find many people doing it unlike now that we have them everywhere. People that are not even architects use these software to draw sketches.
That’s why I said the role of an architect is not just to sit down and know how to use them, you must be creative and know how to bring your ideas to life. There are different courses both local and international that you will also need to take to sharpen your skills.
NREH: What plans does NIA have for fresh graduates of architecture?
Arc. Abiodun: As an institute, we have members as student, we call them Student Members and when they graduate, they become graduate members. After graduation, for you to write professional exams, you should be an associate member. An associate member is one who has done NYSC and applied for membership. Without that certificate, you will only remain a graduate member.
An associate member who now takes the professional exam will become a full member of NIA. I also went through all these processes
Currently, NIA Lagos is having a student competition and we are partnering with Sterling bank alternate finance and it is directed at that cadre of architects(graduate and associate members). The institute cares about these graduates and we plan to nurture them to become greater than us because they would be the ones to meet this technology gallop that is happening right now. At that time, they would be able to make it work for the greater good of the profession.
NREH: Thank you for your time sir
Arc. Abiodun: You are welcome