The striking storage tower for the Nyingali community is designed to induce a chimney effect to keep shea nuts cool and fresh before processing. By storing the nuts and processing them incrementally, the community will be able to sell processed shea butter for skin moisturizing when it commands a higher price in the market cycle. The base of the tower is a storage space with a double layer masonry construction designed to keep the interior cool. Its ceiling is made of glass foam, which is designed to act as a heat exchanger when damp. The volume above is cross-ventilated and draws hot air upwards. This project, which also includes a range of training programs, is part of a long-term engagement by the NGO Make Africa Better (MA ) to improve the production of shea butter in the village. The facilities are built in cooperation with volunteers from the village and the resulting structures are owned locally.
The jury was particularly appreciative that the project is a site of production that links into an existing fair trade economy – specifically one that employs women. The pleasing form is a subtle and familiar reference to the Islamic architecture in the predominantly Muslim region of Northern Ghana. The proposal is further strengthened by its situation within a longterm engagement with the community. In short, the project is exemplary in its inventive approach to social, economic, and ecological sustainability; while foregrounding architecture as an art form.