A climatically responsive statement villa in Accra, Ghana, with a tight timeline, large scope and a focus on entertainment
2021, Accra, Ghana
Project Team: Nadine Clarke, Rory David
The Clients Dream
These first-time home builders, referred to meik by architects we hold in great respect, were setting out to build their forever home – no pressure!
We were briefed to create a statement home suited to entertainment that also offered privacy and tranquillity on a bustling urban site in the heart of Accra.
Climatic considerations along with backup services for water and electricity were also critical to the project being a success. The client had been fortunate to procure a double stand in the heart of a very sought-after suburb to build their dream home. Land in Ghana is held as a leasehold and if construction does not commence within a given period the leasehold can get sold to someone else, so time was of the essence.
The Dream Actualised (Design response)
As we got appointed during the Covid lockdown a site visit was not possible. However, we worked closely with the client who provided video footage, photographs and survey data. This worked very well and once we understood the site and local construction methodologies and had completed a rigorous briefing process with the clients, we set out to design this extensive home.
The final design is a U-shaped courtyard home, with a driveway and generous car courtyard to the west. This allowed us to create a large private central courtyard for rooms to open onto while creating a grand entrance and enough space for visitors’ cars. Essentially the building screens itself from the neighbours.
Entrance is via means of a grand double-volume lobby off the car court. An atrium is featured between the car court and the home and acts as a green lung and screen for the west sun. A guest toilet adjacent to the lobby is accessible to guests visiting the home office while retaining privacy to the residence.
The formal reception rooms – the entertainment room, the family kitchen, the family TV room and the guest suite – on the ground floor all connect directly to the central courtyard. A home office, cooks’ kitchen and staff accommodation are tucked away allowing for privacy and their own connection to garden spaces. Large pocket doors connect or disconnect the formal dining room and lounge with the family kitchen allowing flexible use when entertaining guests.
The first floor features four bedrooms, a PJ lounge, a study, a luggage store, and a dry goods pantry serviced by a dumbwaiter to hoist groceries directly from the garage.
The roof space is used for a viewing terrace, a tank room for water backup and a PV panel array that powers the home. It was important for the client to access the PV array to be able to wash the dust off panels.
Deep porches and overhangs feature throughout the house as a means to create shading in this tropical climate.
Off the Grid
Service interruptions are commonplace in Ghana, so from the onset, the client needed provision for backup power and water. A bank of PV panels is located on the roof above the master suite, with easy access via the roof terrace. A backup water tank is located on the roof below the roof terrace to make use of a gravity feed.
In addition, passive design principles like orientation, shading and cross-ventilation are employed to create a comfortable indoor climate.
Would you like us to design your villa?
If you like what you see and hear and want to work with us on your home, cabin, villa or project feel free to call or email us to set up an appointment to discuss your requirements, and how we can make your dream home come to life.
Nadine: 082 809 1970 || Studio: 011 025 8318 || email@example.com