Meet Tosin Oshinowo: The Magic Hands Illuminating African Architecture with Innovation and Sustainability

By Duchess Magazine

Tosin Oshinowo is not just one of the most versatile architects on the continent, she is successfully weaving her architectural dreams with the vibrant spirit of Africa. From designing opulent residences on the exclusive Banana Island to spearheading sustainable projects that echo through the Sharjah Architecture Triennial, Oshinowo is redefining the narrative of contemporary African architecture.

Oshinowo’s journey into the world of architecture began at the tender age of 12 when she found herself captivated by floor plans and involved in designing parts of her family’s holiday home. With degrees in architecture and urban design from the UK, coupled with an MBA in architecture, she honed her skills in the architectural landscape of Europe before returning to Nigeria in 2009.

The birth of cmDesign Atelier (cmDA) in 2012 was not just a professional milestone for Oshinowo but a conscious effort to create an aesthetic language that projected a contemporary African identity. Her commitment to using local resources and integrating sustainability into design reflects not only in The Lantern House but in all her architectural endeavors.

As the curator of the Sharjah Architecture Triennial 2023-2024, Oshinowo extends her influence beyond the physical realm. The theme, “The beauty of impermanence and the architecture of adaptability,” reflects her commitment to celebrating under-celebrated innovations in the global south that address conditions of scarcity. This visionary approach extends her influence on an international stage, emphasizing the relevance of African perspectives in global conversations on sustainability and adaptability.

Oshinowo’s creative prowess isn’t confined to architectural marvels alone. Ilé Ilà, her Nigeria-based bespoke furniture design company, weaves functionality with Yoruba culture. From muted tones and crisp white palettes in architectural designs to the bold, colorful expressions of her furniture designs, Oshinowo’s aesthetic journey is a celebration of diversity within her creative spectrum.

Tosin Oshinowo’s contributions to the world of architecture have not gone unnoticed. With awards such as the 3rd City People Real Estate Awards for Architect of the Year in 2017 and the Lord’s Achievers Awards for Creativity in 2019, she continues to inspire a new generation of architects. Her role as a finalist in the 2023 Diversity in Architecture Divia Awards speaks volumes about her impact on the industry.

Tosin Oshinowo is reference point of innovation, sustainability, and cultural celebration in the the ever evolving world of architecture. From the opulence of Banana Island to the global stage of the Sharjah Architecture Triennial, she has successfully exemplified the transformative power of architecture to shape not just spaces but the narratives of a continent. Architect Tosin Oshinowo is more than a designer; she is an ambassador of a new era in African architecture.

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