Report on the 2018 African Architecture Writing Workshop

By Kwabena Appeaning Addo

The Accra Architectural Writing Workshop took place from the 6th to the 8th of July 2018 at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Guest House in Accra. The purpose of this workshop was to tutor undergraduate and postgraduate students on writing of blog articles, both on new and old buildings and structures. The goals of this workshop were aimed at learning how to produce architectural writings and this was achieved through the use of four different buildings sited in the Greater Accra Region: William Franklin House in Ga Mashie, Ecobank Headquarters in Ministries, the University of Ghana’s Balme Library, and One Airport Square in Airport City. Participants were placed in groups to analyze then form a write-up about their assigned buildings.

My group investigated One Airport Square, which is located at Airport City between the Silver Star Towers and Holiday Inn. We learned how to write architecturally, while bringing in our different backgrounds. Our group members were not only architectural students, but also students studying other courses in the university. Together, we wrote an in-depth article on One Airport Square. Some of the topics that were included in our write-up were the history of the building, a description of the building such as the building materials and the various activities that occurs there during day time.  We visited the site twice. The only problem was that the managers of the various buildings were not given any prior notification of our visit. We spent the last day of the three-day workshop at ArchiAfrika in Jamestown presenting our articles.

Mario Cucinella Architects is the firm responsible for the building. I learned that One Airport Square was designed and built with the intention of creating a new reference point for ecological beauty in architecture. This is because of the many systems set in place to increase the environmental friendliness of the place. One such measure was the harvesting of rainwater and grey water to be used for flushing of the toilets. A large atrium at the entrance and reception allows a lot of light to enter the building. There are also other measures that allow the entry of natural air into the building. I also learned of One Airport Square’s symbolism. The design for the building’s drew inspiration from the palm plant that was dominant in the area in the 1960s. The diamond-patterned exterior façade was designed like the bark of the palm tree, a common plant in Ghana that influenced the design of the building. I also learned that One Airport Square was set up to bring life to the community it finds itself in, through the services and retail shops that are found on the ground floor of the building.

The African Architectural Writing Workshop was of great benefit for me. I personally developed my skill of writing architectural articles to describe buildings and structures, whether old or new.  Also, I initiated connections with various undergraduates and postgraduates students who also participated, and we can help each other in the future.

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