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Rebuilding cultural and

creative infrastructure

Photo Credit: The Benin Bronzes on display at the British Museum.


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The EMOWAA Creative District will be a regenerated neighborhood in the heart of the historic Benin City that provides a rich experience for local and international visitors, a professional work environment for academics, artists and heritage management specialists, and will showcase the best craftmanship, and collection of antique and contemporary art. 

The Creative District Layout, Adjaye Architects 2021.

The Creative District will be made up of:

The Pavilion 

Our ambition is to create a world-class collections facility and establish a center of excellence for archeological science, conservation, and museum practice in West Africa.  

The EMOWAA Pavilion is under construction and will be a space for learning and reconnection—a gateway between the sophistication of our shared past and the dynamism of our possible futures.  


The Rainforest Gallery  

Set in a rainforest garden, the Rainforest Gallery will allow for interaction with nature and a reflection of the influence of natural environment on art and artisanship in West Africa. Additionally, the Gallery will serve as a curatorial practice test lab, supporting the professionalization of curatorial practice and exhibition management in Africa.  


The Museum 

The David Adjaye-designed building complex will be situated at the heart of the historic quarter of Benin City, enclosed by the ruins of the Benin Earthworks that guarded the capital of the ancient kingdom. The architectural vision is to use archaeology to connect the new museum with the surrounding landscape by revitalizing and incorporating the surviving remains of the walls, moats and gates of the historic Benin City, seen throughout the modern city today. Excavations may reveal evidence of historic buildings that may be retained in their original position and become part of the visitor experience. 

The Museum will exhibit West African artworks and artefacts, past and present, while serving as a centre for curatorial excellence and contemporary creativity. 

Artisans Hall 

A reconstruction of the ancient Kingdom’s audience hall, the Artisans Hall will serve as a curated retail space for local artisans; showcasing a living and thriving culture.  


Creative Residences & Art Guesthouse 

As part of the EMOWAA ecosystem for academics and artists, the Creative Residences and Art Guesthouse will provide accommodation for visiting researchers, academics and artists, was well as tourists.  


Publics Gardens 

Connected across the Creative District, gardens and landscaped public space will welcome visitors looking to unwind in the lively Benin City Center. The gardens will also recognize those who lost their lives during the 1897 ​ 

Decoupling from the Western museum model, EMOWAA will perform as a reteaching tool: a place for recalling lost collective memories to instil an understanding of the magnitude and importance of these civilizations and cultures.

— Sir David Adjaye, OBE, Adjaye Associates

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