This winter we went to Ghana to design and build a community centre, part of an ‘arts village’ in a rural area in the north of Ghana. The project was a collaboration between arts and development charity NKA foundation, and local charity Livelihood Empowerment Centre. It will be used for projects both artistic and otherwise that help to improve livelihoods, health and education and through that prosperity to the local area.
The aim was to work with local builders to create a structure that used traditional methods, yet contained innovative elements, to create a striking central building for the arts village, which would act as a central space for meetings, events and arts activities.
The design aimed to create a cool, light, spacious, comfortable and sheltered area. By incorporating a roundwood timber frame we were able to open up the roof structure to let in light and to allow natural stack and cross-wind ventilation.
We worked with skilled local artisans to make the structure completely from natural materials, from natural plasters with plant additives to give weather protection, to traditional thatch roofing. Almost all materials were extremely local, including teak poles from the next village, and earth for the walls from a hole next to the building!
The project was documented with video, which has now been edited into a 45 minute documentary. See the film of the project online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCNJApkynGQ&feature=player_embedded