Location: Nhyiaeso-Kumasi, Ghana
Project Architect: John Owusu Addo
Project Year: 1995
On the verge of retirement and a passion for golf, Professor Architect Owusu Addo acquired a parcel of land close to the Kumasi Golf Park at Nhyiaeso to build his retirement home. This was facilitated by his imagination of walking from his home to play golf, a sport he is so much passionate about.
The design is a 5-bedroom house with 3 boys quarters. The sub-basement which is the first level is a complete suite on its own with a living room, kitchen, dining and washrooms accompanying the bedrooms on that level. The level two also has its kitchen, dining, living room and washrooms accompanying the bedrooms; with both levels connected by a half-landing staircase through the main entrance area and a spiral staircase at the terraced sections facing the golf course.
The idea was to be able to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the golf course even from the house by the architect; hence the introduction of terraces at the north-eastern sides to make this happen. The positioning of the terraces ensured that they remain in a shade even during the afternoon sun. In addition, the concept of having the feel of outdoors whilst inside was applied. This was made by the introduction of skylights in the dining and living areas, the use of sliding glass doors and large windows.
The phenomenon known as the ‘spirit of a place’ was rightly employed as the sloping topography of the land was used to create a subbasement which serves as ground floor of the residence. Slit windows were used for lighting the staircase to create a subtle ambiance on the landing whilst maintaining the boldness of the staircase envelope.
The design is purely tropical as it made use of louvered windows and terraces which enhanced natural ventilation by allowing cool breezes into the various spaces. Daylighting is also adequate to the extent that artificial lights are not used as complimentary during the day. In addition, all the major habitable spaces have been duly shaded to prevent solar ingress especially the setting sun.
Concerning materiality, the walls were made of sandcrete blocks with a simple post and beam structural system from reinforced concrete. Glass louvered windows were used mainly and concrete tiles for the roof. The peculiar aspect about the materials was the timber fascia which had been sprayed with asbestos to prevent it from rotting.
I visited Professor Owusu Addo’s residence during my training years at KNUST. What an amazing Residence. International style, functional and beautiful. No wonder it still has that appeal after so many years. Arguably one of the most photographed buildings in Kumasi.