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Architects begin ARCON House in Abuja as Fashola urges unity among professionals

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Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (2nd right); President, Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON), Gabriel Oladipupo Ajayi (right); ARCON past president, Obong Victor Attah (middle) and others during the groundbreaking and foundation laying ceremony of ARCON House at Jahi Phase I, Abuja<br />

To achieve a beneficial, affordable, contemporary iconic secretariat, the Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON) last week, commenced a mixed commercial and administrative development that complements regulatory operations and facilitates good returns on investment.

Known as ARCON House, Abuja, the project is structured into two phases and adopts affordable green technology and building automation. It consists of eight floors of mixed commercial space, harbouring conference/meeting rooms of 200 seating capacity and a multi-purpose hall for 600 people.

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In consideration of the design and quality, the ARCON Registrar, Umar Murna, explained, “the design scheme to be adopted for the ARCON office must be elegant mixed commercial and administrative complex, which should be minimalist in its approach but iconic in its delivery. Thus it must be innovative in all ramifications and ensure that the lifetime cost of the project is thoroughly considered.

“It must also provide complementary mechanical and electrical services installations that are energy efficient. The design must be seamless in its functionality, contemporary in its design approach and its strategic location in Abuja should be exploited in its architectural expressions and outlook to make it a major landmark with and outside its neigbourhood.”

This came, while the council’s Lagos office, which is still under massive renovation is about 60 per cent completed.

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Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, performed the groundbreaking and foundation laying ceremony of the historical project.

Speaking at the ceremony, Fashola, who expressed delight over the stride of the ARCON council, led by Sir Dipo Ajayi, 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 have been able to manage their differences and forged ahead to pursue a common goal of having a befitting edifice of their own.

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“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. 

“From what I have seen so far, ARCON has shown that example and I will say I am really impressed with this achievement. As Nigerians, we should strive and encourage one, another to build,” Fashola charged.

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He commended ARCON for the decision to build and establish its presence in the Federal Capital Territory as a symbol of the unity of its professionals., Fashola declared, “To all the seen and unseen hands who have helped to restore engagement, who have helped to restore that family, I send my great word of thanks,” adding, “this is a much better place for the Architecture Family than where it was three years ago.

In his welcome speech, ARCON’s president, 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.

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“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.

In his goodwill message, Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State, an architect, who supported the project with N10 million, pledged unwavering backing to the architectural family and the project.

Ishaku commended the efforts of the Minister of Works and Housing and his FCT counterpart to bring the ARCON vision to reality.

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Justus Okah-Avae, Chairman, Board of Trustees, The Association of Nigerian Chartered Architects (ANCA), said that the groundbreaking ceremony was a testimony of the doggedness of a set of professionals who have been trying to make omelette not out of the 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, Umar Murnai, in his vote of thanks, 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, it was also to tell the 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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