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Professional Spotlight: Arch. Emmanuel Owo of Zeus-Kronos

Arch. Emmanuel Owo is the Co-Founder of Zeus-Kronos which was born out of Rosel Aesthetics; an Interior Design company founded in 2009. He is an accomplished professional with experience and knowledge of Architecture, Construction, Interior Design and Carpentry. Operations in ZK started fully in 2015 after it was born the previous year.

FFE.ng spoke with him on a wide range of topics including; his design process, the importance of technology in the industry, and some of the major projects he is currently working on. Enjoy the read.

FFE.ng: How would you describe your Design Process?

EO: Our design process starts with a Needs Analysis followed by research, looking at a number of factors including; location, clients' background, preferences and requirements.

Our process is team driven. We work as a team. We throw ideas around and whichever works for us, we settle with that.

FFE.ng: Do you have a design philosophy? If yes, how would you describe it?

EO: My design Philosophy flows from my personality. Minimalist. I believe less is more. 

FFE.ng: What would you say are the three things that most influence your work?

EO: The first thing would be Value; this is because I am Value driven. I believe 'money' is 'paper' and real money is Value.

Another thing would be Excellence. I also believe that whatever is worth doing is worth doing well. Finally, it would be Customer Satisfaction.

These are basically our core values as a company. I know if you deliver value, you would get value in return. One fact though is that excellence is costly, but not expensive. We try to drive value as well and obviously it is factored in our costs. Sometimes, it reduces our profits, but then it increases our value. But in the end, everyone appreciates excellence. Only those that do not, believe it is costly.

FFE.ng: Do you have a memorable Project? If you do, what is it?

EO: (Laughs) That is a big one. There is a project we are working on, it is still under construction. It is a six-storey block of luxury apartments. It is quite an interesting one because of the use of technology for a seemingly small project.

The initial design was also different from what we had concluded on. We thought to ourselves that we could create a basement in the foundation of the building. After taking the necessary considerations and steps into account, we went for it.

(Arch Owo and Engr. Segra Amusu. Ceo, Logitrade Engineering LTD - Technical Partners to Zeus-Kronos)

At some point, we had to cast about 500 cubic meters of concrete. What made it remarkable was that it was completed in less than twelve hours. We are really proud of that. Especially considering the time it saved us. Imagine if we had to employ manual labour, which would have gone on for weeks. Technology is available in construction and that is really helpful. 

FFE.ng: That was indeed an 'Operation'. Well done!

EO: (Laughs) Thank you!

FFE.ng: Okay, so in your opinion, what is the most significant Technological Advancement in the Industry?

EO: Steel. It’s been the biggest game-changer in the industry. Based on research, it is easier to use and more sustainable.

Another thing is the use of renewable energy: Wind and Solar. If we tap into these things, the housing system would be better.

FFE.ng: You said something about Energy Efficiency. How much of a role does sustainability play in your projects?

EO: Sustainability is at the core of what we do - so that years after, our projects are still valid. Any solution we think about; we ensure that we think about sustainability. This majorly brings recognition to us. If the projects are sustainable and have resilience, that is a good thing for us and the client. We make sure this applies to whatever we work on, so if you have to see our project in twenty years, it will still be of great value. Our core value of Simplicity also plays a vital role here too.

In addition to that, we hold yearly Seminars for Built Environment Professionals called ‘The Oak Grove’. We invite as many professionals as possible to be a part of it and we discuss numerous topics including sustainability and ways to develop the construction industry in Nigeria.

Furthermore, we do a lot of work with natural, locally sourced and processed materials such as bamboo. We make it a point to try make use of our local materials as opposed to importing building materials.

(Locally sourced and manufactured doors made from processed bamboo )

FFE.ng: That is very enlightening. We should definitely appreciate our local materials more. 

So as an experienced Professional, what advice would you give to up and coming professionals in the industry?

EO: Most architects fresh out of school believe that the moment you step out of school, you start designing amazing buildings such as Malls, Towers and the likes. Unfortunately, it is different in the real world.  This career path requires a lot of humility, focus and self improvement. I advise that they should refuse to be held back by their immediate environment. They should grow, learn what other colleagues are doing in the global community and try to localize it. I also advise them not to focus entirely on financial gains but to also be aware of the business part of the profession.

It will be tough in the beginning, but with consistency, it gets better!

(Wood samples made from Bamboo )

FFE.ng: Future plans?

E.O: Right now in Lagos, there is a deficit of 2.55 million houses, based on research done in 2013. Presently, we need more houses than that. The housing problem in Lagos is a significant one, and I will personally be dedicating the rest of my career to the housing challenge we have in Nigeria.

Now we are focusing on Social housing for middle income earners. We have a ten-year plan to create a roadmap and solve the housing problem in Nigeria. The solution to this is simple, not technical. I also think the Singaporean housing system offers a good model to consider for solving our housing challenges.

FFE.ng: Thank you so much for your time, Arch. Emmanuel.

EO: You are welcome.

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