Evaluation of Omu-aran Town in Nigeria

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CHAPTER 3

  1. THE SYUDY AREA, LOCATION AND HISTORY.

According to geographical records, Nigeria is located in west Africa on eastern part, and it lies along the latitude 4° north and 14° and longitude 2° east and 14° east as well as is the most populated black nation in the whole world with an approximately population of 150 million people according to National population census, 2006.

The study area

Located at some 88 kilometres South of Ilorin capital of Kwara State is Omu-aran town , and 16km North-East of Otun-Ekiti, in Ekiti State.The town is located on Longitude 50.61 o E and Latitude 8.9 0 N. The town shares boundaries with Odo-Owa and Iloffa in the East, Ipetu- Igbomina and Arandun in the South, Oke-Onigbin in the West, Oko and Isanlu-Isin in the North and North-West respectively.

Centrality is an advantage that can be traced to the location of Omu-aran being situated in the midst of Ekiti and Moba towns Igbomina. The town thus appears to have been favoured by nature to be at the heartland of an ancient confederacy, which thrived through the ages, particularly in the 18th century.

Most parts of Igbomina Land, along with Omu-Aran, is on the highland beautifully settled in a belt of hills. It is located on a section of Elliu Hill and is actually the highest point above sea level in Kwara State.

3.2 CLIMATIC CONDITIONS

The climate of Nigeria is influenced by the wind systems. One is the rain bearing southwest monsoon which blows from the Atlantic Ocean, the other is the dry dusty north-eastern wind that brings harmattan which comes from the sahara desert.

As it is experienced in the tropics, Omu-aran do witness two major season namely the dry and wet seasons, which begins around March through to October while the dry season is usually characterised by bright sunshine that begins in October through March. Within this period there is a brief interlude of harmattan occasioned by the northeast trade winds, with the main feature being coldness and dryness.

  • Rivers

The town is drained by five major river, there are Araeja, Omikuru, Rooro, Oisa, and Onipupa, flowing from different directions that providing not only irrigation water and portable water, but also aquatic splendour and a mass of fertilizing matter deposited on the banks, particularly during the rainy season floods.

ï‚· Vegetation

The town is favoured with foliage archetypal of the guinea savanna and a large span of rich soil. grow food crops such as yam, maize, guinea corn, cocoyam, cassava, rice, locust bean, shea butter, etc and such cash crops as cocoa, kola nut and oil palm are grown from the rich soil..

  • Humidity

Relative Humidity is generally high in the rainy season sometimes reaching 90% in June. The midday relative humidity rarely falls below 60% in the dry season.

  • Relief and Drainage

The Land surface is generally undulating and descends from an altitude of over 450metres to 300 metres. Two main relief regions may be identified in Kwara state; the first is the inselberg landscape whichis the part of Yoruba Highlands while the second is the coastal plain. The regionof the inselberg landscape covers half of the state and Kwara falls within this region.

  • Transportation and traffic flow

Omu-aran is served by both public and private sector transport. In the public sector, Kwara state has a mass transit company. Private operators In addition provide transport services both within the main town and other cities.

The road transport are divided into 3 broad categories

  1. Trunk A roads
  2. Trunk B roads
  3. Trunk C roads

Trunck A and B are the main flow pattern for the proposed Church building, Trunk C are untarred roads from which people from smaller settlement comes to church, the Trunk B, is the federal road that connect Omu-aran to Ilorin and Lokoja which will be increased to Trunk A for the purpose of this project.

  1. DEMOGRAPIC DATA

Omu-aran being favoured by its central location, that makes it the most populated of all Igbomina towns, according to National population census 2006 it has a population of about 55,000, according to the provisional result of the 2006 National population census, Kwara state has a population of 1.1 million inhabitant the table below gives breakdown-

Source: National population commission, 2006

However the 1995 estimated the population of Kwara state to be as high as 55000, this figure shows that the population of Kwara state has increased overtime as a result of the increase in educational institutions in the state.

3.3 MATERIALS AND METHODS

3.3.1 RESEARCH METHODS

In order to generate the required data, two major types of research method were adopted These are the historical research and the descriptive survey research methods.

Historical research: The write up makes enquiries into historical records associated with church designs, the protestant liturgy and how church design relates to sacred architecture in order to achieve an intangible sense of “sacredness” that will connect the church users to the divine realm. Therefore this project utilizes the primary and secondary sources of data. The primary data were generated from the interviews, observations and consultation, while the secondary data was gotten from internet, case studies, magazines, journals, textbooks, dissertations, articles and conference papers.

3.3.1 Survey method

The survey method employed in this research was mainly descriptive. For example, a general look at churches for observation to check for advances to be incorporated in the design.

3.3.2 Method of Data Collection (Instruments)

The various instruments of data collection for this project are elaborated below

3.3.3 Primary data sources

Interviews: A number of interviews were conducted for the purpose of this project. Most notable among them were discussion held with pastor, Elders and church members in other to take note of all service activities that occur within the church building and site, to find out all the service groups that exist and the basic spatial requirement needed in other to carry out such activities. Interviews are needed to know the past challenges the church members have being facing and how such problems relate to architecture

Observations: This is inv the careful study of the subject or object of study. The essence of observation is to answer three important questions: why, what and how is able to explain a great deal about the subject under study.

Consultations: this involves seeking information from professionals on the research topic. For examples, the Cadastral Surveyors provide information on the topography of the site and dimensions of the site been proposed, the pastor provide information’s on some of the spaces needed in a church.

The consultation process was undertaken within a framework of six themes, felt to be key to religious design.

Discussion and written contributions were recorded or received and are collated, analysed here.

3.1.1Sacred Space

Sacred space represents the unique function of the church which serves the spiritual life of the community. This theme addresses how we understand building sacred space and the essential qualities the spaces need to evoke. Sacred space must differentiate from non-sacred space.

Consultation Excerpts

Interpretation

Design Implications

It is helpful if it supports performance and food is always important…

Relate socializing space as close as possible to worship space so people can move easily from one to the other….

The building is a gathering point a community space should be closely linked to the church building

Consider openness to street and connection to community

Use of more clear window space Allow people to see here they are through clear glass and the use of light. Listen carefully, as Renzo Piano advocates, and join with the wider community in addressing needs of common concern and making inclusive space in our building plans….

The use of natural light from above to shine on the altar/cross

Increase connection to nature and community context

Worship is connecting with what God is really doing

Churches to remain engaged with community

Why don’t we have the service outside? I just wish we could get the music outside…

Sacred space should not be necessarily single use or inflexible

Consider the appropriateness of various connections back to and out to the community in the design, physically, visually, conceptually, from the worship spaces.

Don’t be too locked into incorporating the past into the central present…

The new churches may not replicate the old ones lost

Contemporary design welcomed

Beauty lifts the spirit…

Beauty is important in sacred spaces

Design well with beautiful proportions

  1. Community Engagement

What is commonly understood however is that a vibrant successful parish (& Diocese) will be one that is interwoven with the wider community, where each is embraced by the other as integral to their development.

A range of questions have been posed and responses received. Where successful community engagement occurs it is seen to be authentic, consistent and beyond mere use of church buildings. Engagement means a social and human connection being made. Social activities (such as Mainly Music)

A common view also is that the church’s buildings are holding the church back from effective community engagement. Another clear insight is that the church needs to evolve the way in which it reaches out and connects, that it needs to go to the community. This needs to start with this process and ongoing consultation beyond the membership of the church.

Consultation Excerpts

Interpretation

Design Implications

In your view what is the role of the Living Faith Church in the community today?

Does this differ from the past? Should it differ from the past?

“To speak of belong and welcome to all people. To express God’s interest

in and care for all people. To express hope for the future. To show community by engaging with all people.”

“To create community by being there for others. To laugh, play, and enjoy life.”

“The church buildings should be welcoming spaces and a hub of outreach activity, and activity that blesses the community.”

Our role is to focus on people not buildings.

Someone coming in from any background should feel like they are able to come to church to seek help from the church without feeling like the “will not fit in”.

The current perceived role of the church seems to be as a chaplaincy service for the neighbourhood. I think this is a view from the past. The new model should be totally different and acknowledge most people in society aren’t religious or previously “churched”.

To be ambitious in its strategy.

To provide and welcome.

To be the heart.

To see and make a future, using the human and physical assets it has.

Test the typology of the traditional church form.

Consider an entirely new typology that maintains landmark quantities whilst re-positioning the church’s relationship with the community.

Use other community buildings as a guide e.g. Libraries, Arts Centres, Community Centres.

Maintain the sacred status of a church, whilst modernising it’s form.

Use the act of building new buildings as a powerful signal and engagement tool.

Involve local schools.

Seek a lightness and transparency in new architecture, whilst avoiding the banal.

Design with the needs of the occupants in mind, including their emotional needs.

Consider selective but bold use of colour.

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