Ghanaian Arts Village

The Ghanaian Arts Village is a competition project being produced as a collaboration between myself and my friend and instructor architect Diego Urrutia. The competition is being hosted by the NKA Foundation which is based in Africa. The competition project is for an Arts Village to be constructed in a small town called Abetenim in the Kumasi region of Ghana. The project program includes a large performance hall, art gallery, kitchen and dining area, offices, bathrooms and storage. The competition details can be viewed here.

The competition budget is extremely small, only $42k-$62k, which means every design decision must be made with the utmost concern for cost-effectiveness. Any design element/idea that can be used to accomplish more than one task will be considered fruitful.

The project coordinators in Africa express a strong interest in construction practices that can be accomplished with earthen materials and low-skilled labor. They also expressed an interest in schemes that borrow conceptually from the works of Hassan Fathy. One of the first moves Diego and I made when we began scheming this project was to borrow a copy of Fathy’s masterwork Architecture for the Poor from the UO library system.

This image represents a first pass at a bubble site parti for the project.

This image represents an updated bubble site parti.

This image represents an early pass a a site plan with accurate wall widths.

This image represents a first attempt at an art gallery at 50:1 scale. Incidentally, my toddler son got a hold of it and drew on it as you can see.

This image is a first pass at a section exploration of the cobb-oven kitchen.

This image is a facade complement to the image above.

This image represents a first conceptual attempt at a facade for the performance hall. This image is heavily influenced by the works of Hassan Fathy.

This image is a conceptual section representing an early idea about how to organize the performance hall.

The following images represent a progression of the conceptual schematics for the performance hall. We used Sketchup for quick, fluid scheming of ideas. We have been through at least a half dozen major conceptual schemes so far.


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