NLÉ – which means “at home” in Yoruba – is an architecture and design firm co-located in Nigeria and The Netherlands. NLÉ’s mission is to shape “the physical, human, cultural, and economic architectures of developing cities and communities.” Through harnessing growing urbanization in developing nations, NLÉ hopes to provide city spaces with efficient methods of addressing emerging infrastructural needs and challenges. The firm believes that the developing world’s social structures allow for greater harmony between man and nature thanks to their propensity for providing necessities with minimal means. Though NLÉ’s work focuses on architecture, their philosophy extends beyond the material structures they create. They envision cities as lived spaces in which anything can be reconstituted into a community resource. This facilitates the coexistence of people and structures with their environments,something that is further fostered by NLÉ’s exclusive utilization of local materials and workers.
NLÉ’s scope is not limited to the developing world, as they have completed projects across the world including the United States, Italy, Qatar, Belgium, China, and many more nations. NLÉ has utilized its most iconic design, the Makoko Floating System, to construct a number of locally-sourced structures, including three schools in Belgium,Italy, and Nigeria, on bodies of water – a strategy which they feel will become essential as global warming causes widespread flooding. NLÉ was invited to present their Makoto Floating System at the first-ever UN Habitat Assembly at 2019, showcasing the simplicity and scalability of their design. Following this same theme, they have drafted concepts for water-based communities which could be quickly constructed in coastal African nations at high risk from rising sea levels. NLÉ has additionally engaged in several other projects, including the construction of art galleries, public leisure spaces, music halls, and monuments.