Notes from Kumasi Part 2
The KNUST campus continued to delight as we explored its many building types, landscape and wildlife. The staff housing [over twenty different types], is generally low density bungalows generously positioned along the sweeping roads to the west of the campus. The Vice-Chancellor’s lodge is also set amongst the staff housing, its pierced screen providing shading to the verandah-cum-corridor behind.
At Unity Hall, the two high-rise accommodation blocks dominate the arrangement, but they also frame the quadrangle that contains badminton courts, refectory and other social spaces. The space is also commandeered for laundry drying and we observed architecture students surveying the landscaped elements with their drawing boards set up under the shade of the loggia. Just a short walk from Unity is the sports track and Paa Joe Stadium. The seating is set within the raked landscape and the grandstand has a graceful concertinaed concrete roof that reduces in depth as it cantilevers over the seating.
We were fortunate enough to view the architectural drawings of these buildings – but sadly, the climate has rendered them in a poor state and plans for digitization must be urgently progressed to preserve this important archive of material.
Off campus we visited the Manhyia Palace built in 1925. Upon returning from exile the Ashantehene Nana Prempeh 1 was offered the building by the British (the former palace having been destroyed in the ‘War of the Golden Stool’ in 1900). The palace is now a museum with some excellent artifacts and collections. The palace grounds also contain the Manhyia archives, managed by the West African Studies department of Legon University. The archives contain records dating back to 1926 including many documents on land development, sanitation, state buildings and town planning. We’re looking forward to seeing what this archive holds – an initial inspection revealed many plans and previously untapped material!