in collaboration with [applied] Foreign Affairs, university of applied arts Vienna /Mag.arch. Baerbel Müller
Located in Ghana´s Central Region, the new Haduwa Arts & Culture Institute aims to become a place for independent artistic experimentation. It will give space to individuals or organizations from diverse cultural backgrounds to unfold their creativity and work in the field of theatrical, spatial and sound performance. We developed a series of indoor and outdoor program specific areas, integrating mixed-use activities with sustainable solutions, to meet the need for inhabitation.
Haduwa‘ s property is located at the Atlantic coast between the fishing town of Apam and the village of Abrekum, about 70km West of Accra, and 70km East of Cape Coast. The main idea compels to explore a significant social engagement within the development of the art discourse in Ghana and will foster the growth and the promotion of art made in Africa. In this tropical climate, we face environmental parameters such as solar radiation, air-humidity and strong wind. Discrete compositions of basic requirements are gathered within the a dynamic masterplan, creating an environment, which is adopted to the climatic conditions and performs a heterogeneity of use and function. On a spatial program scale we leave certain unbuilt areas open to optimize the airflow. Considering the advantages of the landscape, we place an organic fruit garden and a kindergarten area on the back of the site, where the soil is rich and the land is isolated from the ocean. The way visitors walk through, always in different non-linear ways, follows a strong architectural logic. The semi-public and public areas, such as artists´ studios, living area, stage, kitchen and bar, are positioned closer to the waterfront, thereby establishing a relationship between the beach, a vivid public space, and the new cultural center.
A bamboo roof covers the stage, which remains the focal point of the site. Using bamboo as primary construction material is not only ecological, but encourages the reinforcement of sustainable practices in Ghana and results in creating new jobs for hands-craftsmen. During a construction workshop led by the internationally recognized bamboo expert Joerg Stamm a system of connections, nodes and joints was established. The bamboo is preserved on site with Borax solution and for the joints we use bamboo nails, produced by local workers. The roof itself creates a continuum of the landscape and expands as outdoor communal space, offering an area for a small-scale trading activity or other public performances. Additional platforms from different materials are added to the main stage, creating a path, a new functional area for any temporary use, leading to the shaded bar. A membrane will be placed on top of the roof to protect the bamboo from rain and sun, exploring the dichotomy of the concept of organic vs. artificial. Among the basic issues is how to design and construct to meet the needs of a contemporary cultural institution and the current population, without undermining the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.