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BY Abu Mubarik, 10:45am February 27, 2024,

After becoming the ‘face of architecture’ in Nigeria, Olajumoke Adenowo now leads an $880M complex in SA

Olajumoke Adenowo. Photo: Ad Consulting Limited

Olajumoke Adenowo has made a name for herself as one of the top architects in the world and among the top ten in Africa. Her footprints are all over many breathtaking structures across the world, making her “the face of Nigeria architecture.”

Her latest business has taken her to South Africa, where she is leading an $880 million housing complex, according to Forbes.

Born in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria, on October 16, 1968, she enrolled at the University of Ife at just 14 where she bagged her first and second degrees in Architecture. Her parents were university professors so she grew up within the university community attending the University of Ibadan Staff Primary School and high school at the Federal Government Girls College, Oyo State.

Adenowo was inspired to study architecture after she visited Paris at a tender age. She was amazed by some of the structures she saw and wanted to be in the shoes of some of the architects behind the structures. By 2015, the Nigerian architect had been involved in the design and construction of over 70 buildings, including institutional facilities, epic 2,500-seat auditoriums, residences, estates and cutting-edge corporate offices, according to CNN.

According to Nairametrics, some of her projects include the Abuja Film City, Nigerian Stock Exchange, Heritage Bank Headquarters, and Ekiti State Liaison Office in Lagos. She has also overseen major projects for clients like the Nigerian government, Coca-Cola, L’oreal, the Nigerian Stock Exchange, and banks. Nairametrics further noted that Adenowo owns an oil and gas firm, Advantage Energy, and a property management company known as Advantage Property.

Adenowo started her architectural journey at Femi Majekodunmi Associates architectural firm. At the time, the founder of the firm was the President of the International Union of Architects. Her work ethic, passion and enthusiasm impressed her boss who soon asked her to create the Federal Ministry of Lands in Abuja.

“I was always ready. I would be at the office at 11 pm on Sunday when other girls are dancing or something. I think my boss saw my passion and he gave me a chance,” she told CNN. “If we had more mentors like that in Africa, I believe the younger generation would blossom faster.” 

At the age of 25, she decided to go solo and start her own architectural firm, AD Consulting, in 1994 despite not having the financial might. Her office was a little bigger than three chairs.

“It was myself and a young boy who sat in the corridor but I started anyway because I believe that you do what you can with what you have, where you are,” she said.

Despite her busy schedule as an entrepreneur, a mother and a wife, she started running a radio program where she mentors young women, complementing the radio show with the Awesome Treasures Foundation, which helps mentor women and young girls. 

“We believe the greatest need of Africa is leadership, vision. Strong people who are ready to give their all to say, ‘this is the way’, and Awesome Treasures is here to address that need, to raise transformational leaders.”

The Nigerian architect, who was once called the “face of architecture in Nigeria”, has won several awards for her work including the International Alliance for Women World of Difference 100 Award; the Rare Gems Award (awarded by the Women’s Optimum Development Foundation and the United Nations Information Centre); the New African Business Woman of the Year Award; the International Property Awards (Best Public Service Architecture, 2012), and the African Property Awards (Best Mixed-Use Architecture).

In 2018, she was recognized by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) as one of the most inspirational women in architecture today. She was also one of the members of the third annual 50 Over 50: EMEA list recently unveiled by Forbes.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: February 27, 2024


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