The Alan-Vaughan-Richard´s (AVR) House was designed and built by british architect Alan-Vaughan who moved to Nigeria in the early 50ties and married the nigerian socialite Ayo Richards in 1957. Vaughan-Richards work, particularly in the 1960‘s, was exceptionally experimental in its search to hybridize climatic modernism, innovative design methods, and indigenous knowledge. As a resident ‘Lagosian’, aside from his architectural work, he was involved in architectural education debates, and the artistic and cultural life of Lagos, and the co-author of the publication Building Lagos.
Since Alan Vaughan Richards’ death in 1989, the residence has not been in continuous occupation. After his death, Ayo Vaughan Richards became terminally ill and died five years later. For the next fifteen years, the property was in temporary occupation over short periods, as the four children were, and remained, resident outside of Nigeria until Remi Vaughan-Richards moved back to the property in 2005.
In 2002 the architects and researchers Hannah Le Roux, South Africa, and Dr. Ola Uduku, Nigeria/Scotland, started documenting his tropical modernist architecture and building and archive of Vaughan-Richards work. http://sites.ace.ed.ac.uk/avrarchive/
In 2012 the idea emerged to turn the AVR House into an international architect/artists in residence project in order to sustain the heritage of the site and to provide a space for discussion around the creation of the african city. Katharina Rohde was invited to come on board of the project to develop the program for the residency.
Funded by the German Institute for foreign relations (ifa) Katharina Rohde set out to investigate the local arts and cultural scene in Lagos in order to understand what already exists and what nigerian artists need for their creative development. With a focus on the AVR House, Rohde explored possible sites for artistic creation within abondened structures in the city of Lagos.
In 2013 Katharina Rohde was commissioned by the Goethe Institute Nigeria as project developer and co-ordinator for an architect/artist-in-residence for african and german artists in Germany and Nigeria. The project is in progress and depending on funding the AVR House will host its first residents by the end of 2013.