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Professionals Call For Diversification of Architecture

By Izunna Okafor and Odogwu Emeka Odogwu

The Nigeria Institute of Architects (NIA) Anambra State Chapter, over the weekend, brainstormed on the need to diversify and incorporate practical entrepreneurship as a vital tool for survival in the architectural profession.

The 2019 edition of the Architecture conference was graced by seasoned Architects and students from various institutions in the state where members were urged to embrace entrepreneurship as a lasting solution to the challenges facing architects in the society.

According to the keynote speaker Arc. Mike Nwafor who spoke at the two days conference at Awka, diversifying architecture is the only surest way to draw the profession back from going into extinction, adding that artisans and professionals in other fields have in recent time threatened the relevance of the architects in the contemporary society.

Arc. Nwafor who spoke on 'Creative Diversity: Architecture and Entrepreneurship' described architects as master builders where no scheme can be initiated without them, adding that architects are the backbone of developments and inventions as they have initiated various ideas in the society.

He disclosed that there is all manner of marginalization and encroachment of non-Architects into the profession, citing cases where governments and individuals bypass services of the certified architects for artisans and others alike, saying that even many things that were before now exclusive to architects are today being eluded.

He further said that architecture in man has been active since the creation, navigating and conquering the various challenges that nature has presented to man, as the only gift presented to man is the gift of architecture.

"Architecture is grossly under-utilized today because it was there in the beginning. You see it in the Garden of Eden, you see it in the tower of Babylon.

"Architects need to embrace entrepreneurship as there is so much an Architect can do. He can go into estate development or land development; get a piece of land, move into and service the land. He has a whole lot of business models out there for him. It is all for him to step up and seize the various business models that abound in the profession.

"Part of these business models is that it could introduce some unique specific products into the market and services. Example of such unique practice is to have a design that is unique and nobody can compete with. Like there are WiFi and Bluetooth interface doors with disc connectors designed by architects, most architects went into furniture and they all flourished. A furniture that an architect design is always far more special than what you get in the market."

The former Managing Director of Anambra State Housing Corporation urged fellow professionals to ensure that their integrity is not challenged in the scheme of things but should strive to maintain relevance through developing concrete ideas that will bring new innovations to the society.

Also present at the conference was the Anambra state commissioner for Housing, Hon. Michael Okonkwo who challenged architects in the state to device a lasting solution to poor housing plans in the state especially markets where the existing plans do not help in the time of emergency, and also made known the importance of upholding integrity in various aspects of life.

He decried the magnitude of damage caused by erosion in some parts of the state like 100 foot road Nnewi and gully erosion at Nanka community stating that the major cause of the erosion menace is improper termination of drainages. He however, assured that the state government has set up a design review committee that will checkmate quality of the road constructed in the state.

Speaking to newsmen, the Anambra State Chapter Chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Architects, Arc. Osita Paul Okafor said that the essence of the conference was to explore other areas that is different from the core role of architects, adding that there are various areas an architect can fit in today's world which is distinct from designing and supervising building constructions.

He urged young talents in the field to imbibe the culture of entrepreneurship and leverage on the opportunities that lies in the profession by keying into the business models available.