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General News Thu, 26 Sep 2019

Ghanaians don't know me well enough – David Adjaye

Renowned architect, Sir David Adjaye, has opened up months after criticisms that his company, Sir David Adjaye and Associates, has been awarded governments iconic projects.

The Ghanaian-British architect is sometimes saddened by claims made against his business, particularly by local architects that his company was favoured in the award of those contracts by the state.

Adjaye’s company has recently won separate contracts for the architectural design of at least three government projects – National Cathedral, New Parliament Complex and Accra’s Marine Drive.

But some local architects have expressed reservations about the manner in which the contracts were awarded to persons or groups who are not recognised by the Ghana Institute of Architects -- in contravention of the law.

However, Sir David Adjaye, who is celebrated globally as one of the most influential architects of his generation, said Thursday, September 26, he breached no rules in securing the projects.

“Why do you think somebody of my calibre would come into Ghana and not have a licence? Am I suddenly not professional anymore after I have to work at the highest level everywhere…why would I not bring that excellence to Ghana,” he quizzed Johnny Hughes, host of TV3’s New Day programme.

“I don’t think my country knows me yet and I …understand that they don’t know what I’ve done yet and I hope that they will soon see what I’m capable of doing,” he added.

Renowned architect, Sir David Adjaye, has opened up months after criticisms that his company, Sir David Adjaye and Associates, has been awarded governments iconic projects.

The Ghanaian-British architect is sometimes saddened by claims made against his business, particularly by local architects that his company was favoured in the award of those contracts by the state.

Adjaye’s company has recently won separate contracts for the architectural design of at least three government projects – National Cathedral, New Parliament Complex and Accra’s Marine Drive.

But some local architects have expressed reservations about the manner in which the contracts were awarded to persons or groups who are not recognised by the Ghana Institute of Architects -- in contravention of the law.

However, Sir David Adjaye, who is celebrated globally as one of the most influential architects of his generation, said Thursday, September 26, he breached no rules in securing the projects.

“Why do you think somebody of my calibre would come into Ghana and not have a licence? Am I suddenly not professional anymore after I have to work at the highest level everywhere…why would I not bring that excellence to Ghana,” he quizzed Johnny Hughes, host of TV3’s New Day programme.

“I don’t think my country knows me yet and I …understand that they don’t know what I’ve done yet and I hope that they will soon see what I’m capable of doing,” he added.

Nonetheless, the man who has been in practice in Europe and North America for more than two decades is hopeful that his story as well as his works, will inspire young Ghanaians to do greater things in the future.

Accra’s outdated models

Touching on redeveloping Ghana, especially the capital, Accra with 21st Century designs, Sir Adjaye advised city authorities to take into consideration several other environmental factors apart from putting up beautiful edifices.

“I think that we’ve become more concerned about the look of the building than what the building does,” he observed.

Before putting up those structures, the architect recommends to city authorities to look beyond the environment within which the project has been marked for construction, improve the immediate adjacencies, ensure the sustainability of the project and cater for the communities that are being displaced as a result of the project.

“These are very important things to consider beyond making a shiny building which people have understood now in making cities all around the world,” he said.

Multi-faith site in Abu Dhabi

He also spoke about the landmark project his company recently won in the United Arab Emirates that includes a church, mosque, and synagogue.

The development, known as ‘The Abrahamic Family House’, will be located on Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island in close proximity to the Jean Nouvel-Designed Louvre Abu Dhabi.

He said the project, hopes to embody the relationship between the three faiths while providing a platform for dialogue, understanding, and coexistence.

Commissioned by the Pope, Imam and Rabi (Higher Committee for Human Fraternity), the Abrahamic Family House is a collection of three religious spaces, a mosque, a synagogue, and a church, which sit upon a secular visitor pavilion.

He explained that the project is one of the first initiatives set by the Higher Committee, a new body that is overseeing the implementation of the ‘Document of the Human Fraternity’ - a document backed by religious leaders that addresses how people of different faiths can live together harmoniously.

Source: Myjoyonline.com
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