Chief Isaac Fola Alade, FNIA, D.Sc, OFR is a renowned Ekiti-born Nigerian architect and distinguished abusite who designed and build the national stadium Lagos, Tafawa Balewa Square(TBS), Federal Secretariat Lagos, Nigerian Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies building, Kuru, Plateau State and several other iconic buildings in Nigeria.
Isaac Fola Alade OFR was born the twenty third child in his family on November 24, 1933 at Aramoko Ekiti in Ekiti State Nigeria. He attended St Phillips Elementary School, Aramoko Ekiti, and Christ’s School, Ado Ekiti for his secondary education.
In 1961 he graduated from the Nigerian College of Arts & Sciences and Technology Zaria (now Ahmadu Bello University) as one of the first four (4) pioneer Architecture graduates.
Thereafter, he completed his post-graduate studies at the Architectural Association School of Tropical Studies, London in 1965, on a Commonwealth Scholarship
Isaac fola Alade won the “Atlas Award” for the best academic performance in the Inter. R.I.B.A exams in 1958. He enrolled as a U.K. Chartered Architect after his R.I.B.A finals in Oct 1961, became an associate of the R.I.B.A and ARCUK in 1963.
He became a member of the NIA in 1964, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Health of the UK (F.R.S.H.) in 1965. Alade was fully registered by ARCON (ARCON No. F/12) and became a Chartered and Registered Architect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 1970. He is a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Architects.
His professional career commenced in the Civil Service of the then Western Region of Nigeria and served in Ondo, Akure and Ibadan as a Pupil Architect in the Ministry of Works between 1961 and 63 upon his graduation, he was promoted as Architect Grade 1 in 1964. He had a brief stint with the Lagos City Council, and from 1968, he joined the Federal Ministry of Works.
Arc. Isaac Fola Alade was promoted as Chief Project Architect in 1972, became the Director, Public Buildings in 1975, and was the first Architect to become a Federal Permanent Secretary in 1976, a post he held until his retirement in 1979. He later set up his private practice Fola Alade Associates in 1980.
Chief Isaac Fola Alade, OFR was the Chief Architect at the Federal Ministry of Works from 1968 till 1973. During this hectic period in his career, he served as the General Secretary of NIA, and as well, served as the first Registrar of ARCON.
He was the General Secretary to the Commonwealth Architects Conference held in Lagos in March 1969. There is no doubt that he has had a penchant for his noble profession and has no misgivings about being a Nigerian Architect. He continues to support the profession at every oppotunity he gets.
His works spanning accross four decades mark his Architectural signature, and has taken him to several parts of the world both as a professional and as a delegate of his country, during which he met many great heroes of his time from President Jimmy Carter to Idi Amin.
He considers himself one lucky person to have come from an unprivileged background and to have charted such a career path.
Selected Works of Architect Isaac Fola Alade
Chief Isaac Fola Alade, OFR designed, planned and supervised the construction of the following projects most of which were recorded during his employment in public service. Some of these are listed:
Land Titles Appeal Courts, Western State, Ibadan – 1965-66
Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo – 1965-66
Emergency War Projects (Hospitals, Schools, barracks, dockyards, landing strips) during the Nigerian civil war – 1968-70
Armed Forces Rehabilitation and Training Centre, Oshodi, Lagos, including a Millitary Hospital and Crafts Centre – 1968-70
Supervised the construction of the National Stadium, Surulere ready for the 2nd All African Games in January – 1971-73
Office of the Head of State and Council of Chambers,Dodan Barracks – 1971-72
National Sports Institute, National Stadium, Surulere – 1974-75
The Twin Federal Secretariat, Ikoyi, then the largest building in West Africa – 1972-75
Forty one military projects spread across the country – 1970-1979
Nigerian Embassy buildings in fourteen countries( within and outside the African continent) 1970-1976
The Prototype Federal Secretariats in all nineteen State capitals in Nigeria – 1973-76
Satellite Town, Lagos – 1975-78
Heads of States, Federal Government Guest Houses, Bishop Oluwole, VI – 1974-75
New Ministry of External Affairs, Marina, Lagos – 1975-76
Re-design and conversion of Tafawa Balewa Square Complex, Phase II into a Shopping Complex and Office Suites – 1975-78
Nigerian Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos – 1978-79
Creek (Millitary) Hospital in Ikoyi – 1977-79
Federal Goverment College, Ijanikin, Lagos among other Federal Government Colleges – 1978-80
Prototype 12 storey block of five flats, the Bar Beach Towers, replicated at Creek Hospital, Mulliner Rd, Ikoyi, 2nd Ave, Ikoyi, and near NTA on Awolowo Road, and Eric Moore Towers – 1977-79
Ife University Teaching Hospital Complex – 1980-83
Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Ibadan – 1982-84
University of Maiduguri – 1982-85
NITEL Exchanges in Ondo State, in Ido Ani, Akure, Ikole, Ikere, Ifon, Aramoko – 1980-84
First Bank of Nigeria, Akure – 1984-85
West African Portland Cement Head Office, Alausa – 1987-90
Prototype Federal Secretariat (Plot 4) – Fola Alade Prototype – 1987 till date
Professional and Technical Adviser for the Master Planning the new Nigerian Universities and Higher institutions – 1975-77
Arc. Isaac Fola Alade has rendered at the Grass roots include:
Voluntarily designed the Master Plan of Ekiti State at the creation of the State in 1997.
Designed all twenty six local Government Headquarter Offices for Ondo State Free of charge in 1976.
For his 70th birthday, he asked his family and friends to monetise his birthday gift with which he donated an AUTOCAD centre with 20 work stations to the School of Architecture, University of Ife.
Awards and Honours
Isaac Fola Alade was the first Architect to recieve the National Honours Award of the Officer of the Federal Republic (O.F.R.) in September 1997.
He is the Asiwaju of Aramoko Ekiti and has recieved several chieftaincy titles around the country.
He bagged the “Man of the Year Award” on January 8, 1978 by Daily Times along with the late president Anwar Sadat of Egypt. This was in recognition of his contributions as a civil servant to Architecture.
He was listed in the “Who is Who” in the Commonwealth by Newswatch in 1979.
He was awarded an Hon. D.Sc. (Honoris Causa) in Architecture of the International University Foundation of North Carolina in the US in 1987. He was awarded the much-coveted “Albert Einstein Gold Medal” by the Albert Einstein University Foundation in Malta in 1988.
Isaac Fola Alade was appointed an Honorary Deputy Governor of the American Biographical Institute (ABI), a post that he still holds to date. He is a Fellow of the International Biographical Association (IBA), Cambridge. He was given the “Man of the Year” Award by the Institute in 1995.
He regularly attended their congresses all over the world and presented papers at the congress in 1983 at the World of Astoria in New York, and also in 1991 in Cambridge. He was listed among “1000 best professionals in the world.
He was appointed the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman Governing Council of the Federal University of Port Harcourt in 1990.
He has written many publications in the National dailies on various socio-environmental issues and anti-corruption campaigns, etc. He also published some of his projects. He wrote his autobiography, “Remember the son of whose thou art.”
Chief Isaac Fola Alade was an ardent player of Squash racket Table Tennis, Lawn Tennis, and Cricket. He founded the Club Arcade of Nigeria, a squash club in Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos in 1981. He is the President of Ekiti Golf Club, a member of Ikoyi Club 1938, Abuja Golf Club and many others
In 2005, he retired from active service, and until his death resided in his home town, Aramoko Ekiti. He’s survived by five children including two Architects, a Lawyer, an HR personnel and a Pastor/Medical doctor. He is also survived by thirteen grandchildren.
Chief (Arch) Fola Alade died on Friday 18th June, 2021.