At 14, Olajumoke Adenowo enrolled in the University. Five years later, she had her first degree in architecture, and at 23 she was employed and designed her very first building. When she was 26, she started up shop solo, which after two decades has made her one of Nigeria’s most successful architects, an overachiever and an ambitious builder. She was also described as the “face of architecture in Nigeria”.
Olajumoke Adenowo has dedicated her illustrious career to restructuring Nigeria’s landscape. She has brought institutional facilities, estates, cutting edge corporate offices and 2,500 seat auditoriums to existence. She has also been involved in the construction and design of more than 70 buildings.
In a CNN interview, she revealed how she designs beautiful and useful structures across the continent, and why she wants to inspire the next generation with her top tips for success.
Mentorship is important.
Having graduated at an early age, Adenowo picked up work at Femi Majekodunmi Associates architectural firm. She had won her boss over, who was the President of the International Union of Architects with passion. This opened up huge opportunities for her. It was not long before she was asked to create the Federal Ministry of Lands in Abuja.
She said that she was ready for that task. She would come to the office at 11pm on Sundays and did her work. She believes that her boss found her passion and decided to give her a chance. She succeed in the business of building because she had a mentor.
Be willing to take risks.
Adenowo decided to start her own company, AD Consulting at 25. This was a big risk for her but her reputation as one of Nigeria’s most prominent architects proved that sometimes you had jump into the unknown. She said that initially her office was tiny. She had a young boy who worked with her in the corridor but, she was determined to succeed.
Understand that Building Is Not Just Great Architecture
Adenowo explained that an architect is beyond building, but to be successful, you need to have an extraordinary strategy. You should understand anthropology, history, sociology, physics, culture and chemistry.
Take Your Game Beyond 3D
The fourth dimension has become the trendy thing in the real estate all over Africa. To make it a difference in the real estate business, it is important that an architect develop buildings that will be different when you see them in the morning and night.
Inspire and Take Ownership
Adenowo finds time to mentor women through her weekly radio show despite juggling a prosperous career and a family. In 1999, she started the Awesome Treasures Foundation to inspire and mentor women. Leadership is the greatest need in Africa and her Foundation is helping women take ownership of their businesses.
Aiming to Do More
She is not resting in her quest to make sure that she builds some of the fascinating structures in Nigeria. Until she has succeed in creating magnificent landmarks around the country, she wouldn’t stop.