Lagos, Nigeria

The Elephant City is a landmark project designed to complement the ambitions laid by the Eko Atlantic project; its vision, its scale and its influence on Lagos; most importantly its impact on the African continent.

Having traveled across the African continent, the elephant has accumulated a set of memories that translate into fantastic landscapes, an innovative way of representing and communicating spaces. During its journeys in search of water, the elephant must accumulate colorful memories as it crosses a multitude of landscapes. The idea of a moving city was born.

The elephant comes to mind as a strong and recurrent symbol in Africa. It evokes strength, patience and longevity. Apart from its symbolic dimension, the elephant is particularly interesting as a migrating animal. The scale and ambition of such a project raises the question of how to address its architectural components in order to create spaces that generate identities and places for people.

Furthermore, elephants have been an important part of Nadim Karam’s creations. Over the past years, elephants of different sizes have seen the light, from drawings and paintings to spatial sculptures.

On site, the Elephant building is located along the long edge of the parcel, aligning with the canal where it can be reflected. Its orientation also highlights the relation between the lagoon and the ocean, while creating a screen in the skyline viewed from the city. In order to engage with its direct context, the elephant is traversed by a void linking it to the exterior. The void travels through the building vertically, linking it to the outdoor park below at the level of the ground floor. Transversally, the void reaches out to views of the city and of the canal. These different factors shape the interior void that we have conceived as a series of public parks generating four zones of four main different functions, each having contact with both the interior park and exterior context. Voids are also placed like pockets within the private functions, generating shared spaces for the daily users of the elephant city. Underneath it is a series of residential units combined with a public transit hub which will activate the public spaces below and ensure a continuous connection between the elephant city and the rest of the development.