The intricate designs and complex buildings in OAU demonstrated Arieh Sharon’s Bauhaus education and post colonial modernist architectural styles.
In other words, the Israeli architect, Arieh Sharon and his partner, Benjamin Idelson. Alongside his son, Eldar Sharon, built the first phase of OAU campus buildings, from the year 1962 to 1972.
The first completed structures in OAU has been listed below.
1. HUMANITIES BUILDINGS
Humanities buildings(1-4), were the first set of buildings, built in 1962.
When the idea of a University in Ife was conceived, the famous Israeli architect, Arieh Sharon and some Nigerian planners toured Universities around the world for designs and on return, the design for the University core was laid. The faculty of arts and humanities is the first faculty built in OAU.
The Humanities buildings which consists of three blocks of four floors were built within 1963 and 1965 and completed in January of 1967. Most of the block of buildings were designed to accommodate peculiar climatic challenges by Architect Arieh Sharon. They were built like pyramids upside-down. According to the architect himself, were called reversed pyramids with open spaces in view of proper ventilation at the buildings.
The Humanities now houses the faculty of arts. In which includes the departments of English, Philosophy, History amongst a host of other departments. Also, these buildings are regarded as one of the most busiest buildings in the school. Even still standing strong amidst new generation buildings that have now sprung up on campus.
2. LIBRARY 1966
The Central Library in OAU is known as Hezekiah Oluwasanmi Library. It is a two multi-storey wing, purposely placed at the heart of the university. Inside, there is access to the internet, books, and journals. There is also a seating capacity available for about 2,500 people.
OAU’s school library was named after the second vice-chancellor of the school. It is one of the oldest buildings in the school which still stands tall and proud. The library is linked to the Humanities building by the latter’s strong horizontal cantilevers.
Built since 1966 by Arieh Sharon, Eldar Sharon ( his son), and two others; It is designed to accommodate sun exposure and tropical climate. Ventilations are also put in place through stairways and open hallways.
Over 300,000 titles and 762,000 monograph volumes, government publications, theses, and audio-visual materials are housed here. Also, one can also find the subscription of over 1,000 journals in hard format.
The library collection is available to all and sundry through the Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) and Online Computers Library Corporation Inc. (OCLC) of Ohio, USA. Almost 297,352 records have been changed to electronic format, in addition to the digitization of its newspaper collection.
3. THE SECRETARIAT NOW SENATE BUILDING
The current senate building previously known as the Secretariat was established in 1968. It’s design lacks in complexity unlike other buildings in the university. It was referred to as the gate to modern structure in the university. Also, it has two doors offering access into the building and had the most extensive carpark holding over fifty cars in the premises.
It’s noted as a historical building due to its existence to the very beginning of the university in the ’60s.
It is located directly beside the main pergolas linking various faculties together and it is also situated opposite the university’s bus-stop.
The building houses seven floors namely: O, M, 1,2,3,4 and 5. The first floor also named, ‘Floor O’, is the OAU student disciplinary floor. On this floor is the fate of students caught up in grave issues decided upon.
The current senate building offices the directors, vice chancellor and various non-academic staff who are responsible for running the administration of the institution and affairs of its student.
4. EDUCATION 1970
Among the few historical oldest buildings of Obafemi Awolowo University is the building of the faculty of Education. With its magnificent structure, the education building was constructed in 1970, that’s 9 years after the opening of the University.
The building seems to be a replica of the building of humanities. But with a different shape one to promote air circulation below the building.
Several factors were considered in the construction of OAU architectural building. These include; the weather, terrace, shape and among many others. In constructing the education building, open air was the considerable factor. This explains why the building is symmetrically arranged towards the north west border so as to be connected to an open air plaza.
Unlike the few historical buildings, the education building was designed after Sharon’s elder son, Eldar. Eldar with the help of Harold Rubin brought about the diagonal concrete trusses of the building.
Being one among the oldest building, it still remains one of the best architectural building among faculties.
5. ODUDUWA HALL (AMPHITHEATER)
The former Assembly Hall which is now called Oduduwa Hall, was constructed from 1972 to 1976. It was designed with an adjacent amphitheater that can host up to 5000. While the main building hosts up to 1400 people.
Oduduwa hall known as the OAU assembly hall is one of the most beautiful and flamboyant buildings in OAU. Also, it is a part of the main core of the campus. It was named after the mythic ancestor of the Yoruba kings, “Oduduwa”.
The assembly hall was mostly the work of Harold Rubin, together with Eldar Sharon. Rubin himself designed the murals of the building.
Oduduwa hall which is made up of concrete has very impressive stage towers serving both the interior and exterior performance spaces.
The building plan entailed translating Yoruba culture into a modernist idiom. Defining the visual traditions of its ancient cultures for a new national modern and national identity.
Moreso, the auditorium was used for theatre and dance performances, while the theater was intended for graduation ceremonies.
Its stairs and galleries are framed by tall walls, each pierced by huge ovals and arches. Also, making the concrete mass with a lightness echoing the adjacent library.
The corrugated texture of the concrete used for the assembly hall imitated that of the famous Yoruba bronze figures. That were excavated in Ife, whose faces and bodies were covered in close-set vertical grooves.
Amphitheater is now covered with an aluminum roof and is mainly used for programs that require a very large audience. Including; matriculation, concerts, and courses with a large number of students.
Anticipate our upcoming article on the oldest hostels in OAU.