|Intro||Nigerian architect and author|
16 October 1968, Oyo State, Nigeria
Olajumoke Olufunmilola Adenowo (born 16 October 1968) is an architect by profession. She is also an entrepreneur and philanthropist, a public speaker, radio host and author. CNN described her as “Africa’s Starchitect” and The Guardian (Nigeria) has described her as “the face of Architecture in Nigeria”. In 2018 she was recognised by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) as one of the inspirational women in architecture today.
Adenowo has been featured in the architectural journal Architectural Record and has spoken at summits and conferences including the Global Women’s Forum and Harvard Business School (African Business Club). She hosts a syndicated radio show on leadership “Voice of Change”.
As an architect Adenowo’s portfolio includes a host of multi-national and Nigerian clients including Coca-Cola, L’Oreal, The Nigerian Stock Exchange, Access Bank Plc and GT Bank
As a public speaker, Adenowo has lectured on the arts, architecture, gender issues, women’s empowerment and entrepreneurial activities in Africa. She has been featured by the international media such as CNN and Fortune.
She started her own architecture and interior design firm AD Consulting in 1994. The firm is based in Lagos, Nigeria.
Early life and education
Adenowo’s parents were both professors, one of History and one of Criminology. She lived on campus at the Obafemi Awolowo University. It was designed by Bauhaus trained architect Arieh Sharon between 1962–1972. Living in, and then eventually studying at the University encouraged her approach to architecture at a young age.
At 14 she enrolled in Obafemi Awolowo University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Architecture at age 19. As an undergraduate she won the prize for Best Student Design. She obtained her Master’s of Science in Architecture, with distinction, from the same university in 1991.
She is also an alumnus of Harvard Kennedy School (2019), the Yale School of Management (2016), Lagos Business School Chief Executive Programme (2002) and The IESE Business School at the University of Navarra in Barcelona, Spain (2005).
Adenowo has stated that her interest in architecture was ignited by visits to Paris and the Palais de Versailles as a young child, as well as living on the Obafemi Awolowo University campus. These inspired her design philosophy – the core lesson being that in its functionality, architecture must be sensitive to its climactic, technological, infrastructural and physical contexts.
After graduating from university, Adenowo was hired as an Assistant Architect at Towry Coker Associates. She then practiced as an architect at Lagos at Femi Majekodunmi Associates. She worked on the Federal Ministry of Finance project in Abuja at the age of 23.
Adenowo founded her own boutique architecture and interior design firm in 1994, AD Consulting when she was 25 years old. Since its inception, AD Consulting has been involved in the design and construction of more than 70 projects. These include Nigerian government buildings, private residences, healthcare facilities, industrial campuses, and corporate and financial institutions. AD’s clients include Coca-Cola and L’Oreal.
In parallel to founding AD Consulting, Adenowo also founded and ran Advantage Energy, an Oil and Gas services firm. She is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a member of the African Leadership Network.
In 2019, Olajumoke Adenowo was appointed a Visiting Professor at the Technische Universitat Munchen (TUM) in Germany. She was honored as a Laureate and a Guest Scientist at the Chair of Theory, History of Architecture and Art & Design arm of the university’s Department of Architecture. This program is established in collaboration with the Bavarian Ministry of Education.
- Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards – Jury Member – 2018
- Vocational Training and Professional Development Academy (VPDA) Director – 2018
- Hamilton Prep School Director – 2018
- British School of Lome, Director – 2012
- Fountain Holdings Limited, Director – 2011
Adenowo has several philanthropic ventures. She takes pride in her Nigerian heritage and champions the potential of young Nigerians. In 1999 she founded the Awesome Treasures Foundation (ATF), a UN-recognised, faith-based NGO in Lagos, Nigeria. The foundation has a mission to raise 1000 leaders by 2030 working especially women and young people.
The majority of her foundation’s programming focuses on disadvantaged women and children. ATF runs Camp Dawn, an educational camp, to address the education gap for inner-city kids. It also manages Awesome Princesses, caring for young girls from the slums of Lagos who are at risk of sexual abuse and HIV/AIDS, supplying medical screenings and educational intervention. Awesome Treasures closely mentors women for transnational leadership and entrepreneurship through vocational training, business classes and leadership training that takes place across Nigeria. In its first 15 years, 70,000 people have attended ATF leadership summits.
She has been invited to speak at international summits and conferences, including the Global Women’s Forum, SOLVE at MIT, the Harvard Business School (African Business Club), Cambridge University (African Society) and the New African Woman Forum.
Adenowo hosts a radio show on a syndicated weekly program on Leadership – Voice of Change.
Adenowo has been honoured with numerous awards for her architecture and philanthropy. These include the Rare Gems Award in conjunction with the United Nations Information Centre and the Women’s Optimum Development Foundation (WODEF), for her work with women empowerment; the International Alliance for Women World of Difference 100 Award; the International Property Awards (Best Public Service Architecture, 2012); African Property Awards (Best Mixed-Use Architecture; Best Office Architecture and Best Public Service Architecture, 2013); IDEA Awards (Best Commercial Designer 2012; Best interior Architect 2013); The Ekiti State Merit Awards, 2014; IDEA Awards (Best Institutional Architect 2014) and the Cambridge African Society Award.
In 1991, Adenowo was included in the ‘Who Will Be Who in The 21st Century’ by the International Biographical Centre in Cambridge, UK. She is a Vital Voices Lead Fellow and a Member of Global Philanthropy Forum, The African Philanthropy Forum and The African Leadership Network.
She has also been honored as an Ambassador of Excellence for outstanding achievements in Architecture and Women’s development by her alma mater.
Adenowo received the New African Woman in Business Award and was also nominated for the West African Business Woman of The Year Award at the CNBC All Africa Business Leaders Awards in 2014. She was recognized as one of Nigeria’s 100 most Influential Nigerians. She also was named as one of 100 Most Inspiring Women in Nigeria, one of Africa’s Most Powerful 10 Women in Business by AFK Insider and one of Africa’s Most Inspiring Business Woman by the La Batisseurs Des Economie De L’Afrique.
She is a fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Architects and was a jury member of the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards. She was featured in the Hall of Fame, Black History Month by the University of West England, Bristol.
Current work and projects
Adenowo’s first major project was at the age of 24 under the leadership of her Principal Chief Femi Majekodunmi of Femi Majekodunmi and Associates. She designed the Federal Ministry of Finance Building, Abuja, in the Federal Capital of Nigeria. Other work includes:
- Guiding Light Assembly
- Kinshasa (DRC) City Centre redevelopment
- GTBank High Networth Individual Centre
- Access Bank Youth Banking Brand environment redevelopment
- VGC – Private Residence
- AD Studio
- Rain Oil
- OAU Senate Building
- Calabar Church
She is married to Olukorede Adenowo. They have two sons.
- Lifespring: The Mother’s Prayer manual (Revised and Updated Edition). AuthorHouse; 5 July 2012. ISBN 978-1-4685-8288-8.
- The Mysterious Seed: Powerful Secrets of Financial Increase. AuthorHouse; January 2013. ISBN 978-1-4685-8285-7.
- Designed for Marriage. Awesome Treasures Foundation; 2013. ISBN 978-978-932-589-4
- Covenant Forces. Sovereign Flame Publishing.
- Child of Destiny. Sovereign Flame Publishing; 1996.