Obafemi Awolowo University, Faculty of Humanities, Block I, ground floor plan, mapping of levels of significance, key areas for heritage conservation (yellow, red), modernization areas (purple, green), 2022 (no scale). © Brenne Architekten, Stagray Associates, 2022.
Reviving the Modern Architecture of Arieh Sharon’s Obafemi Awolowo University, Ilé-Ifẹ̀ , Nigeria






Modern architecture, Campus architecture, Tropical architecture, Conservation, CMP, Bauhaus, Future


Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ilé-Ifẹ̀, Nigeria, was established after Nigeria’s independence in 1960 as the University of Ife. Bauhaus architecture school graduate Arieh Sharon (1900-1984) designed the master plan and most of the initial buildings in the university core through Israeli-Nigerian technical development relations. The often written about campus is one of the most prominent modern architectural exemplars in Africa and one of the exhibits during the one-hundred-year celebration of Bauhaus–Bauhaus 100–in 2019. Like many examples of modern architecture around the world, this campus needs conservation measures for various reasons, including being out of contemporary functional use. However, this campus is in intensive use; in fact, the expanding use and minimal awareness of inherent values coupled with maintenance issues are the major reasons for conservation measures. Local and international collaboration of concerned partners resulted in the Conservation Management Plan (CMP) of the Ilé-Ifẹ̀ campus being one of the 13 projects funded by the Getty Keeping-It-Modern (KIM) 2020 program with complementary measures funded by Gerda Henkel Stiftung. This paper details the actions taken so far in conserving the unique modern architecture of the university and the future actions needed to ensure it continues to occupy its place in architectural discourse.

How to Cite

Jaiyeoba, B., & Amole, B. (2023). Reviving the Modern Architecture of Arieh Sharon’s Obafemi Awolowo University, Ilé-Ifẹ̀ , Nigeria. Docomomo Journal, (69), 42–51. https://doi.org/10.52200/docomomo.69.05




Author Biographies

E. Babatunde Jaiyeoba, Obafemi Awolowo University

Is a Professor of Architecture in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ilé-Ifẹ̀ and the project supervisor of the Getty Keeping-It-Modern 2020 Conservation Management Plan Project of Arieh Sharon’s Obafemi Awolowo University, Ilé-Ifẹ̀ (1962–1976) with complementary measures supported by Gerda Henkel Stiftung of Germany. His latest research interest is multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary studies at the interface of Architecture, Humanities and/or Health and Conservation, Preservation, and Restoration of Heritage for the present and future. He is a member of ICOMOS-Nigeria and was part of the recently concluded Getty’s Conservation of Modern Heritage course of 2023.

Bayo Amole, Obafemi Awolowo University

Is a Professor of Architecture with a forty-four year teaching and research career at the Obafemi Awolowo University in Ilé-Ifẹ̀ Nigeria (Formerly University of Ife). During this period and in a pioneering role, his main work activities have been shared between teaching, research and administrative duties. He has taught and conducted research in Modern Architecture in Nigeria, Culture and Architecture and the broad area of Yoruba Domestic Architecture. For over ten years Bayo Amole was the chairman of the university Projects Advisory and Implementation Committee which advises on campus design and construction.


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