The Ghana Institute of Architects has questioned the selection of Sir David Adjaye to design the National Cathedral project.
In the latest episode on the controversy surrounding the National Cathedral, the Institute says the government paid no regard to procurement processes.
“The selection of Sir David Adjaye without recourse to these laws is unfortunate,” it said in a statement.
The Institute is voicing its concerns because the government has confirmed that it will be providing seed money for the project.
The Institute noted that the law says procurement methods must “ensure value for money, provide competition and transparency to the extent possible.”
It noted that Sir David Adjaye, who has designed world-renowned projects like the Museum of African American History and Culture in the US, was subject to relevant procurement laws.
“In all democracies, Architectural Competitions are held for buildings of monumental importance.”
“So if baffles the Institute why such fair processes could not have been employed to procure same when it comes to the Cathedral,” it added.
This notwithstanding, the Institute, which commended the government for embarking on the National Cathedral project, urged it to adhere to procurement practices.
“We recommend that the National Cathedral Project including the Marine Drive project that we are aware of being procured by the government and are being sole-sourced be taken through the approved processes to ensure that the best is obtained for the Ghanaian populace… This will ensure transparency and equal opportunity for all professionals, the majority of whom have been trained by the government.”
National Cathedral much more than a church – David Adjaye
The designer of Ghana’s National Cathedral, David Adjaye, has said he expects the National Cathedral to embody much more than a place of Christian worship. The renowned architect said the cathedral has the potential to be a multi-faith edifice.
“The building, in thinking about it is not just about making a church. It is really a State space that can celebrate spiritual things and can be multi-faith… it can be absolutely about expressing the spirituality of the nation,” he said on Citi TV’s Face to Face.
“The building also is a place of education. It is about teaching, music, religious studies, about engagement, it’s about a learning centre, it’s about a museum and its really offering another kind of opportunity in the Accra landscape,” Mr. Adjaye said.
President Nana Akufo-Addo cut the sod for the construction of the national cathedral for on March 6, 2017, as part of events that marked Ghana’s 60th-anniversary celebration.
It is envisioned by his administration to serve as a national non-denominational Christian worship centre for the country. The reception towards the cathedral from Ghanaians has been mixed. Whilst it has been generally received well by the Christian community, the government faced some criticism over its priorities. The project has even been hit with a lawsuit.
Singaporean planner for Accra
The Institute of Architects also raised concerns with the government’s engagement of master planner Dr. Liu Thai-Ker to remodel Accra.
The 80-year-old planner was plucked by the first Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew for the design of the country.
The Institute of Architects also feels Ghanaians should have been at the forefront of redesigning Accra.
“Lee Kuan Yew looked within for solutions. He did not look without. It is therefore unfortunate that after 60 years of existence of the Ghana Institute of Architects… Ghana will need a foreigner to redesign our city.”