December 12, 2005
by Canadian Architect
The African Institute of Science and Techology (AIST) is seeking to select an architect-led design team to design its first campus to be situated in Abuja, Nigeria. The budget for the campus is envisaged to be in the order of US $350 million, although design and construction will be phased over a number of years.
The AIST will ultimately comprise several science and technology higher education campuses and smaller affiliated centers of excellence located throughout Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The AIST concept has been developed, nurtured and promoted by the Nelson Mandela Institution for Knowledge Building and the Advancement of Science and Technology in Sub-Saharan Africa (NMI). NMI and AIST is supported by the World Bank, African Development Bank, International Finance Corporation, and other world-class financial and academic institutions.
The AIST is seeking exceptional architect-led teams, capable of both developing a sensitive master plan for the campus and to implement Phase One of the building program. In excess of 30 expressions of interest were received from architectural practices around the world. The Royal Institute of British Architects announced that the following practices have been invited to develop a concept design for AIST’s first campus in Abuja:
*Allies and Morrison Architects (UK)
*Massimiliano Fuksas Architetto (Italy)
*Office for Metropolitan Architecture, OMA (The Netherlands)
*Saucier + Perrotte Architectes (Canada)
*SeARCH (The Netherlands)
*Rafael Vinoly Architects (US)
The establishment of AIST will bring significant and tangible benefits to the economies and societies of Africa. Its top-flight scientists and engineers – grounded in business and industry and with skills in leadership, entrepreneurship, and the humanities – will help drive Africa’s development and contribute to solving the problems that afflict that continent.
Each shortlisted team will receive an honorarium of US $20,000 for their submission.
Karl Voltaire, CEO of Nelson Mandela Institute, was delighted with the response of the architectural community and the final six designers shortlisted. He commented that “to have had submissions from around the globe and to then be able to develop a shortlist of world-class architects is wonderful for the AIST initiative. The shortlist we have is consistent with our focus on excellence and I expect we will receive some superb, creative design concepts early in the new year.”