Adjaye refutes architects’ allegation; says firm is doing legitimate business
The involvement of the renowned international architectural firm, David Adjaye & Associates, in the design and construction of some landmark projects in the country is raising some concerns within the architectural industry.
While a Ghanaian architectural firm, Design Associates Development Consortium, is protesting the alleged award of a number of national projects to David Adjaye & Associates, the latter has refuted the allegations, saying it is “doing legitimate business in the country and has not infringed any laws”.
According to David Adjaye & Associates, it was never true that absolute disregard and non-adherence to the principles of transparency, fairness and equity had played up in the award of projects to the firm.
According to the firm, it was in the country to do legitimate business and play to the rules of engagement and operations governing the procurement of professional services by state companies and bodies.
The Design Associates Development Consortium had petitioned President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo over 12 projects awarded to David Adjaye & Associates.
In the petition, signed by the renowned architect and Consortium Coordinator of the company, Dr Ekow Sam, the firm questioned the basis on which Adjaye & Associates had been awarded certain development projects in Ghana since 2017.
It asked the President to intervene in what it believed was “possible bias in the award of 12 state projects to David Adjaye & Associates”.
The architectural firm run by Sir David Adjaye, a global icon in the architectural industry, has already courted some concerns because of its work on the National Cathedral and the suspended Parliament Chamber.
Design Associates Development Consortium is arguing that these two projects, in addition to others like the Marine Drive Master Planning, the Trade Fair Centre redesign and the GNPC Head Office in Accra, were not awarded fairly.
“Our concerns are premised on the total and absolute disregard for and non-adherence to principles of transparency, fairness, equity and the laws governing the procurement of professional services by state companies and bodies,” the firm stated in its petition.
It also raised concerns over Sir David’s legitimacy to practise in Ghana because he is not resident in Ghana, per the Architects Decree (NRCD 357).
The Daily Graphic took steps to look into the matter and visited the offices of David Adjaye & Associates in Accra yesterday, as well as the Head Office of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and found documents that pointed to the company’s legitimacy to execute projects in the country.
According to the documents, Sir David Adjaye was registered in Ghana as a practising architect, is a member of the Ghana Institute of Architects (GIA) and his firm was registered with the correct governing body.
David Adjaye & Associates, with offices in London, New York and Accra, was registered to practise in Ghana, the documents indicated.
The firm has also designed innovative and complex structures all over the world, including the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, USA, which has won several architectural awards, including Ruby City/Linda Pace Galley in San Antonio, Texas, USA; the 130 William Street Tower in New York, USA, which is under construction; the Holocaust Memorial in London, United Kingdom; the Hallmark Tower in Johannesburg; the World Bank Headquarters, Dakar, Senegal; Alara in Lagos, Nigeria, and the Hugh Masekela Pavilion in South Africa.
Projects in Accra
In Accra, the David Adjaye & Associates team comprises Ghanaian and international architects who have the knowledge, expertise and technological tools to design diverse and complex structures.
Out of a team of 24 architects, 15 are Ghanaian, with six from abroad.
Daily Graphic checks show that some of the projects making the rounds have not been awarded on contract. For instance, there is no supporting document on such a project as the Ofori Panin Fie.
A source at the palace said David Adjaye & Associates had had no transaction with the Ofori Panin Fie and the palace had no intention of building or redesigning the palace.
For the GNPC, it also came to light that the architects had submitted proposals to the Board of the GNPC to design its Accra and Takoradi head offices and had received no contract to that effect.
On the National Cathedral, the services of Adjaye Associates were procured, in compliance with the Public Procurement Authority Act, and is currently working with a full Ghanaian team of engineers and architects on the project.
With regard to the new Parliament Chamber, Adjaye Associates was one of three firms selected following a response to a request for proposals issued by the Parliamentary Service Board, in line with the Public Procurement Law.
Until it was shelved or dropped, Adjaye Associates was working with a full Ghanaian team of engineers and architects on the project, including ADK Consultants.
In relation to the International Children’s Cancer Hospital, Daily Graphic sources indicated that it was not a government project but rather a direct commission by a private US-based charity given to Adjaye Associates that was originally intended to be built in Rwanda but which Adjaye Associates brought to Ghana.
On the Trade Fair Centre Redesign Masterplan, our sources said Adjaye Associates was among a number of companies that had submitted designs.
On the expansion of the Ghana Embassy in the US, our sources indicated that Adjaye Associates had not been engaged and that it was not aware of any such project.
Regarding the Marine Drive Masterplan, the services of Adjaye Associates were procured, in compliance with the Public Procurement Authority Act.
That, the source said, followed a request for the review of the previous masterplan by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.
Adjaye Associates’ role is to ensure that the infrastructure, vision, principles and guidelines of the masterplan are executed.
Individual buildings will be executed by other architects, in line with the approved plans. Adjaye Associates is working with a full Ghanaian team of engineers and architects on the project.
Bank of Ghana
On the Bank of Ghana project, the services of Adjaye Associates were procured, in compliance with the Public Procurement Authority Act. Adjaye Associates is working with a full Ghanaian team of engineers and architects on the project.
Energy City (Airport City 2) Masterplan
Adjaye Associates was selected as the winning firm following a national tendering process published by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources requesting for expressions of interest.
Our checks further revealed that the services of Adjaye Associates were procured by the Ministry of Railways Development, in compliance with the Public Procurement Authority Act, to provide proposals for two railway stations. Adjaye Associates is working with a Ghanaian team of engineers and architects on the project.
Meanwhile, Design Associates believes Sir David’s firm is recruiting architects from beyond Ghana and ignoring local talent.
“The negative impression and image is being created in the public that locally trained architects and engineers are incompetent and not qualified to undertake such projects in the country, which is totally untrue,” Design Associates stated in its petition.
It maintained that David Adjaye & Associates was selected “contrary to all notions of fairness to carry out projects when it is clear that any one firm would be overburdened by projects of such magnitude”.
It said local firms were excluded from discussions on projects with various state institutions.
“Therefore, for the same individual or firm to be presented as the winner of the supposed competitive bidding process is most scandalous. It cannot be said that the public offices involved in the decision process were not biased, prejudiced and influenced in their decision making because of the several meetings held with Adjaye and Associates,” the petition said.