The Lagosian Gate:

Architecture Of Prosperity & Fear In The Megacity

“what is on display in Lagos is an extreme form of modernisation, not some kind of African model” (Lagos/Koolhaas, 2003).


The pressures of mass and competition that characterize the condition of mega-cities in the 21st Century give rise to new forms of urbanism. Lagos, a symbol of the new urban world, has witnessed growth from a small fishing village in the 1800s, to mega-city status in the 50 years since it’s independence. The result of rapid urban expansion gives way to urban informality and peculiar forms of urbanity. Today the gates of Lagos has a dual existence - both an architectural response to urban violence put into place to secure property, while also becoming the canvas upon which the persona of the homeowner can be elaborated on; a tool for the outward expression of prosperity.


This research deploys the use of photography as the primary methodology toward the systematic investigation of Gates in Lagos as they exist in 2019. While little has been written about the gates of Lagos, the overarching objective of this thesis is to theorise the causes and consequences of the Lagosian Gate for the first time; while providing an African contribution to the global and historical discourse of architectural elements.