At Home in Accra

June 17, 2011

From the first day I ever stepped foot in Ghana, I have always wondered if it was possible to build environmentally and ergonomically friendly houses in Ghana rather than the standard concrete jungles which invade the country. I want to settle in Ghana one day, but I know that the idea of living in a concrete jungle with the air-condition or fan on 24/7 does not tickle my fancy. What about building a house allows the natural light to flow through the house or solar heating etc.

Then I came across the house of Ghanaian-born architect Joe Osae-Addo and I thought ‘Wow’ all the things I have been thinking about, have been answered by the design of this house.
Osae-Addo moved from Los Angeles back to Ghana and built a house inspired by colonial English bungalows and courtyard plans of rural Ghanaian houses. The house has no internal corridors allowing for free flow of light and air. The house was built from materials found primarily in rural areas of Ghana, like timber and adobe mud blocks. Designed without air conditioning, the house was conveniently  raised three feet off the ground to take advantage of the cooling under floor breezes.
“We achieved the near impossible of taking a relatively unskilled labor force and inspiring them to think differently and be open to new possibilities.”
“The limitations of labor, availability of materials, environmental conditions, and being ready to adapt the original design”.
I can just imagine what a headache it would have been to build this house. Trying to get your visual vision across. The labourers thinking that the house is impossible to build and then the locals stopping by to add insult to injury!
This house is a stepping stone to changing the way houses and buildings are built in Ghana. Osae-Addo takes into account the space of the land, the surroundings, climate and occupants to built not only a house for comfort but an architectural masterpiece!
The house ticks all the right boxes!
I know who I will be calling when I am ready to build a house in Ghana!


1 comment

Leave a Comment