My Incident with Carpenter Isa

My Incident with Carpenter Isa
April 1, 2021 No Comments Diary of an architect admin


Architecture is supposed to be creative and dramatic. Furthermore it should stimulate interest and be somewhat enigmatic.

 Just like people, the character and complexity of architecture differs from communities, this I learnt the hard way.


When our locals are so used to a situation it becomes impossible for them to accept change even when it becomes clear that the change is a progressive one. Unless and of course they widen their horizons and that becomes where architecture pitches in.


The incident so happened that at first I was very upset but later it didn’t seize to keep amusing me. I was awarded a 4-bedroom duplex for an architectural design. The client wanted it simply done. He said ‘I want it to be typical’. I followed these orders diligently because the client always remains the master and we his humble abide.

I designed a typical 4 bedroom duplex an with an appealing approach. The entrance porch is angled below the master bedroom. The master bedroom was cantilevered over the entrance porch by a meter. That is to say that, it extended beyond the entrance porch. This, I called typical as my client had requested but carpenter Isa saw this and called it madness with a capital M. At first I couldn’t understand why Isa was so furious. So I explained the concept of a cantilevering and how its construction will take place.

I heard him exclaim ‘This has never been done before!’

I replied ‘….and that doesn’t mean it can’t be done’

I called Carpenter Isa’s superior. Taking my time again I explained to the superior all I had already explained before. He quietly looked at the design and carefully listened in such a manner that one might wonder if I was trying to tell him a secret never to be mentioned again. Assuming that he understood everything after such rapt attention but the next thing I heard him say was ‘foolish’.

‘You designers are so full of your selves and you try to bring up the non-sense ‘boko’ theories instilled on you’ he said

At this point I was in rage and immediately left the site. My client followed up after he had been informed of the day’s happenings. I explained to him again, this being about the sixth time that day.


 I also made reference to ABU Zaria’s bookshop entrance, where a cantilever of three meters had been achieved also in Burj Al-Arab Dubai, a whole restaurant of 27 metres is cantilevered, and this made it to be described as ‘dining in the skies’. My client apologised whole heartedly and requested that I go back to site and give direct instructions which nobody shall argue with.

The frustrations were over and I went back to site, this time carpenter Isa co-operated and resumed work although in his eyes 1 metre kept appearing like 100 meters. But when the job was done he realized it wasn’t such a big deal and we all had a good laugh.

That’s how it goes!


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