Chicoco Radio is a floating media platform being built with and for the residents of Port Harcourt’s waterfront community in Nigeria.

480,000 people live in waterfront settlements along the creeks that fringe the city. The state government plans to demolish the settlements. Chicoco Radio is the community’s voice and platform.

The structure is conceived as a linear composition of public spaces from land to water: a community radio station, recording studios, computer centre, meeting rooms, amphitheater and cinema. The radio broadcast mast is an integrated architectural component raising the structure like a bridge: launching one end of the building into the water, suspending the other in the air. The waterside of the building is a floating stage and jetty responding to the ebb and flow of the tide. The airside is the broadcast space where programmes and music are made to air. The cantilevered studios open a shaded landscaped area beneath them – open public space beneath a place of open public debate.

Built of locally available materials, the structure incorporates renewable energy systems. The concept and design development stages have been closely guided by the local communities: we have involved hundreds of residents in design workshops, focus groups and discussions over a number of years. Through this deeply responsive and collaborative design process, local residents have provided valuable insights to this solution, which carefully addresses their challenges and strongly reflects their collective aspirations. Chicoco Radio will be built, owned, operated and maintained by the waterfront communities.

As a ‘bridge to transformation’, the amphibious nature of the building offers a reconnection between the communities’ life on land today, their historic past and their potential lives on water in the future. Anchored in the bay of Okrika waterfront and reaching up towards the ‘upland’ city, the building establishes a trajectory along which large areas of intense informal growth will be integrated into a more inclusive vision of the city’s future.

Chicoco Radio is a collaboration with CMAP Human City Project and a part of NLÉ‘s African Water Cities project  which investigates the challenges and opportunities at the intersections of rapid urbanisation and climate change in African coastal cities and waterfront communities.