Titilayo Adeleye, a seasoned architect and entrepreneur boasting a remarkable 32-year career, serves as both a life and etiquette coach, dedicated to promoting moral values. Additionally, she holds the position of Chief Executive Officer at Eden Group in Lagos. In a recent conversation with Geraldine Akutu, Adeleye discusses her passion for architecture alongside various other topics, providing insights into her diverse professional roles and interests.
How would you assess your profession?
Titilayo Adeleye: Reflecting on my profession, architecture has been a gratifying journey, despite challenges. The joy of envisioning projects and witnessing them materialize remains a constant source of exhilaration.
Why private practice instead of seeking employment in public service?
Titilayo Adeleye: Regarding private practice over public service employment post-graduation, I initially aimed for a parastatal job but found a fulfilling trajectory in a reputable private firm. Subsequently, my practice engaged in significant collaborations with government parastatals.
Architecture is often seen as male-dominated. What stands you out in this profession?
Titilayo Adeleye: While architecture has been perceived as male-dominated, I believe excellence transcends gender. Globally, including in Nigeria, numerous women are making noteworthy contributions. Emphasizing excellence on every project, regardless of scale, has been pivotal in my professional journey. The inherent attention to detail and aesthetics in female architects further adds value.
In this harsh economy, what will keep one moving in the architectural practice?
Titilayo Adeleye: In the challenging economic climate, sustaining an architectural practice requires adaptability. Business owners must manage overheads sensibly, invest during prosperous periods, and involve their staff in organizational plans, fostering flexibility to navigate evolving business landscapes.
What are the challenges you have encountered so far?
Titilayo Adeleye: Encountering challenges as a woman in the African context necessitates surpassing expectations. Additionally, the prevalence of unqualified practitioners negatively impacts the industry. Advocacy efforts aim to combat this issue, urging government intervention through legislation to ensure building safety and uphold the reputation of qualified architects.
How do you bridge the gap between when the business is thriving and when it is low?
Titilayo Adeleye: Navigating business fluctuations involves maintaining flexibility and exploring diversified income streams within the construction industry.
Looking back, what are the things you felt should have been done better?
In hindsight, early investment in the company and enhanced collaboration with professionals, coupled with establishing structures for independent operation, are areas I would improve.
What will you tell aspiring architects?
For aspiring architects, I recommend seeking mentorship, continuous self-development, and honing entrepreneurial skills alongside architectural expertise. Understanding design principles beyond artistic presentations, coupled with a grasp of corporate governance and international best practices, is crucial for creating not only aesthetically pleasing but also functional buildings and spaces.