Despite the economic downturn and challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic, the Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON) at the weekend commenced a multi-million naira office project that will be known upon completion as ARCON House, Abuja.
The development is in two phases. The phase one, a three-storey office project is scheduled for completion in the next 24 months, while the phase two is the proposed eight-storey building for mixed use purposes.
The project is coming at a time the council’s Lagos office, which is still under massive renovation has just attained 60 per cent completion stage.
Performing the ground-breaking and foundation laying ceremony of the historical project, Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, expressed delight over the stride of the ARCON, led by Arc (Sir) Dipo Ajayi.
He said the project wouldn’t have come to fruition, if major stakeholders in the architectural family didn’t decide to work together as one.
He urged Nigerians to learn from the architects on how they had been able to manage their differences and forged ahead to pursue a common goal of having a befitting edifice of their own.
“This is a much better place for the architectural family to be than where you were three years ago. Three years ago, when this council took over, it was buffeted with many crises but this council has been able to manage and resolved many of those issues for the benefit of all and the unborn generation.
“We all can only learn from the architects that, despite our differences, we can still forge a common front of building than tearing apart. To do this, we need to tolerate and listen to one another.”
He pointed out that ARCON had shown the example, saying he was really impressed with the achievement.
“As Nigerians, we should strive and encourage one, another to build,” the minister said.
In his welcome speech, ARCON’s President, Sir Dipo Ajayi, who thanked Fashola for his interventions and the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Muhammad Bello for the allocation of the landed property, said the new edifice will explore and adopt green technology and building automation that is pocket friendly.
According to him, the quest to own a house ascribed to the architects in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria, became more compelling when in 2018, he knew the sums of money being paid to the council’s landlord.
He revealed that, as a developer, he knew that the building of a house could be accommodated within the framework of commitment and strong desire to do so, backed by God-given talents. “So, the successes we have achieved as a group could not have come without the peace and harmony we enjoy today within the family. We must congratulate ourselves for this and expect more from one another to maintain the stability attained so far,” Ajayi has said.
Governor of Taraba State, Darius Ishaku, also an architect supported the project with N10 million, pledged unwavering backing to the architectural family and the project.
Chairman, Board of Trustees, Association of Nigerian Chartered Architects (ANCA), Justus Okah-Avae, said that the ground breaking ceremony was a testimony of the doggedness of a set of professionals who have been trying to make omelette not out of egg but out of nothing.
Okah-Avae, noted that, the current ARCON council has not only built on what it met but has braved all odds and distractions to excel.
Registrar, Arc. Umar Murnai, said that the foundation laying ceremony was a critical milestone in the life of ARCON.
He added that the step taking by the council was not only to maintain its presence in the Federal Capital, but to also tell architects in Nigeria that they have a point where they can congregate as a family. «Therefore, this is a heart – warming occasion,» he said.
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