area 155 | italian stories architecture between portrait and self-portrait

architect: Mario Cucinella

location: Accra, Ghana

year: 2015

The building is located in a specific climate and cultural context, that of Accra, in Ghana. In this colorful environment of blue and pink, modernity has been represented by the unusual display of mirrored buildings. Banks and office buildings have no relationship with the climate, or language of this culture, which is, however, part of an idea, or illusion, of modernity that in reality has come to be unsustainable. The project arises from a few very practical considerations. The movement of the sun in Ghana is vertical, with different latitudes, different angles, and therefore different relationships with buildings. The average temperature is around 23 Celsius while the level of humidity varies depending on the season. In the summer it can reach saturation points of 90%.
These simple considerations alone have led us to envision a building with horizontal overhangs to allow for constant shading of the glass walls of the building.
The reduction of solar warming led to a drastic drop in energy demand for cooling, and to the possibility of using transparent glass. The other aspect is the structure of the building, which serves also as the façade. The façade was conceived of as a series of disassembled elements, handmade and imperfect, and was built with the essential support of parametric tools for optimizing building materials. This is the first building in West Africa to obtain a 4-star energy performance certificate from the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA). The final, overall picture of the building is that of a large object constructed by hand, with its deliberate inaccuracies, yet perfectly suited to its place and climate. An example of creative empathy.

architect Mario Cucinella
location Accra, Ghana
year 2015
investitor Actis Boston Tower Development Limited
area 17.000 sqm
construction company Micheletti Ltd
engineering team Politecnica Ingegneria e Architettura
design team Mario Cucinella, Luca Bertacchi, Hyun Seok Kim, Giuseppe Perrone, Nada Balestri, Luca Sandri, Giulia Pentella, Alberto Bruno, Yuri Costantini
photographs Fernando Guerra