Situated within one of the first class residential areas in Accra, that is, East Legon; the Larbi’s Residence is a project that in the words of the architect was made possible from an aspiration by the Holy Spirit since the family was under pressure to move out from their previous residence. The architect, Sylvia Aku Larbi together with her husband put up this building as their personal residence and a home office. It is a one storey, four bedroom design that made use of the principle of compact and minimalist design avoiding superfluous spaces.
The building is oriented north-south and with this reason the architect ensured minimal windows were put on the east and west facades. The use of cross ventilation and effective day-lighting were not compromised as windows facing one another in the bedrooms were the order in the design with direct facing inlet and outlet windows.
A simple mono-pitch roof was used to take advantage of effective rainwater harvesting and a future intention of introducing solar panels on the roof. With a tight budget, there was no room for waste, hence, most dimensions were made based on materials and component modules. The tight living area is designed to feel bigger with the introduction of a large glazed window at the top of the front wall of the living area and a large glass sliding door and windows at the entry into this space.
The design is a simple post and beam structure made to stand out on its streetscape. This has been made possible by the decision to use a mono-pitch roof cantilevered to about 1.5m at the front to give sort of an anxious feeling. In addition, the timber cladding at the front facade gives the building a natural character which enhances the aesthetics and at the same time provides shading.
The architect over the years from her experience does not fancy fixing toothbrush and toothpaste holders on the walls of bathrooms; the same applies to soap dishes and a surface to put other bathing accessories. She believes design should cater for most of the functions in a building and her solution to this was to introduce short walls abutting the main washroom partition walls. The top side of these short walls are then used for keeping toothbrushes, toothpastes, soaps, cosmetics etc.
Other features in the design were the introduction of protruded seats within the shower cubicles in the bathrooms to enable sitting if need be during bathing, and the design for the burglar proofing metal bars which was quite different from the common designs prevailing in the building industry.
Unless otherwise stated all the images were provided by the architect, Sylvia Aku Larbi.