All building components of the existing fabric were repaired and reused, except for the roof which was uninstalled. A new canopy was employed, spanning over the existing room and creating social spaces above and below. The new roof solution creates a ventilation gap that crosses the main lounge space, allowing for improved passive cooling and therefore more comfortable indoor thermal conditions. An ocean-facing community terrace on the ground floor is constructed around two preserved ficus trees. The new rooftop increases the club’s small pre-existing footprint and provides a respite point that features pillars to hang hammocks, and a new vantage point to observe surf swells.
To reduce the carbon footprint of building materials, the concrete mix design substituted cement with a readily available laterite, resulting in reduced carbon concrete. This was used to finish the existing structure’s plaster, and cast low-maintenance and salt-resistant concrete elements. Local raffia substituted imported formwork. The resulting surface effect integrates into the region’s design language, as raffia palms clad many structures in Ghana’s Western region, such as in the Nzulezu stilt village.
Project Status: Construction completed (June - December 2022).
The assessment of this project was marked by several notable appreciations. Foremost, the jurors were profoundly impressed by the way the project’s scale, although very modest in size, succeeds in impacting the community, especially for the lives of local youth. They found the proposal to be a remarkable example of achieving significant outcomes with minimal resources, showcasing inventive design. While material aspects took a back seat in this project, the jury acknowledged its cultural resonance, a quality that was integral to its success. The project was likened to a “beacon in the area,” garnering admiration for its deep local impact. The attention towards the social sustainability aspect translates specifically into the provision of open and free programs that enable the local community to learn, teach, and master the art of open ocean surfing. This not only nurtures skills but also creates a strong sense of communal engagement.
From a construction perspective, the project’s resourceful approach, such as repurposing parts of an existing building and recycling debris into construction materials, was also lauded for its efficiency and environmental consideration. In essence, the project’s impact on the local community, innovative resource use, cultural alignment, and commitment to social sustainability all combined to create an exemplary model of sustainable design. To conclude, the architects’ active engagement and commitment to Ghana’s development, regardless of their different nationality, was highly acknowledged. Their positive influence, fostered through collaboration with the local community, stood as a testament to their dedication.