Alaro City’s Masterplan Wins International Acclaim

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Bennett Oghifo

Alaro City, the inclusive, mixed-use, city-scale development in the Lekki Free Zone, is the winner of the international Architizer A+ Popular Choice Award in the masterplan category.

A statement by the developer said the city’s masterplan was shortlisted from a range of large-scale international projects and the only entrant from the African region.

Alaro City’s masterplan was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), one of the largest architecture and urban planning organisations in the world. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) is an influential collective of architects, designers, engineers and planners, responsible for some of the world’s most technically and environmentally advanced buildings, and significant public spaces.

Officials of the firm said from a strategic regional plan to a single piece of furniture, “SOM’s designs anticipate change in the way we live, work and communicate, and have brought lasting value to communities around the world. “The firm’s approach is highly collaborative, and its interdisciplinary team is engaged on a wide range of international projects, with creative studios based across the globe.”

Reacting to the award, Daniel Ringelstein, Director at SOM City Design Practice, said that the Alaro City masterplan was designed in a way that protects and enhances the unique conditions of the site while enabling long-term resilience for the future city.

“Alaro City helps strengthen Lagos’ position as the economic and cultural hub for West Africa by creating a new mixed-use model sustainable community – a place for people to work, make, live, and learn,” said Mr. Ringelstein. “The plan is structured around six greenways, aligned north-to-south with the prevailing winds and existing topography, and spaced 800 meters apart to ensure that all residents and workers are no more than a five-minute walk from open space.”

At Alaro City, transport infrastructure supports local connectivity and allows for higher density, walkable mixed-use districts and neighbourhoods. Larger industrial and logistical development plots are located in the south, while neighbourhoods for residential, mixed-use, and commercial development are located to the north, oriented towards the lagoon.

“We were honoured to be nominated alongside complex projects such as the Amazon HQ2 supersite in Dallas and the 5M project in San Francisco,” said Odunayo Ojo, CEO of Alaro City. “The award is a testament to the fact that we are building a city that Nigeria will be proud of, in such a vibrant and unparalleled metropolis like Lagos.”

Launched in January 2019, Alaro City is planned as a 2,000-hectare mixed-use city that will include industrial and logistics locations, complemented by offices, homes, schools, healthcare facilities, hotels, entertainment and 150 hectares of parks and open spaces. The project is a joint venture between the Lagos State Government and Rendeavour, the largest new city developer in Africa.

The Architizer A+Awards, in its seventh year, is an internationally acclaimed programme focused on promoting and celebrating the year’s best architecture. The Popular Choice winners were selected through public online voting after a 10-day campaign. More than 400,000 votes from over 100 countries were submitted.

Alaro City recently announced the start of phase two of its residential “buy and build” plots, after selling all phase one plots. Several Nigerian, regional and multinational companies are also building commercial and industrial facilities in the city.

Alaro City is a mixed-income, city-scale development with master-planned areas for offices, logistics and warehousing, homes, schools, healthcare facilities, hotels, entertainment and 150 hectares of parks and open spaces. Rendeavour and Lagos State Government have planned Alaro City as a 2,000-hectare, market-led project. Alaro City is authorised by both the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority, and the Lagos State Government as an entity to develop, operate, administer and manage the city.

Rendeavour is Africa’s largest new city builder, with over 12,000 hectares (30,000 acres) of city-scale developments in the growth trajectories of large cities in Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo. Rendeavour is creating the living and working spaces that will help sustain and accelerate Africa’s economic growth, meet the aspirations of Africa’s burgeoning middle classes, and serve as a catalyst for further urban development.