eARThouse2016 _ a house for the arts


Project title: eARThouse2016
Location: Abetenim Arts Village, Ashanti Region, Ghana
Time schedule: from July to November 2016
Main partner: Nka Foundation
Overall cost: 9616 €
Consultant: Mantey Jectey-Nyarko (Ph.D), Artistic consultant, Department of Art, KNUST University, Kumasi


The project aims to enhance natural materials and local construction techniques, widely affordable by the dwellers, in order establish a strong connection with the environment and people’s living conditions. The main function of this building is about arts production, as a platform for culture exchange.

Foundations are made of granite boulders from the local quarry and concrete mortars. The slight slope area of the site allowed small excavation for the foundations works, likewise offering natural rainwater drainage system.

See the project development and technical description.

To achieve maximum interest towards the usage of earth made structures, it was considered appropriate to use the pisé technique because it tends to be perceived, at the local level, as a modernization of the local earth buildings techniques and then a possible valid substitute of increasingly widespread cement blocks buildings.

The mix is reached through on-site samples and nearby earth building survey.
To reduce the construction cost the team designed metal formworks as a community tool, easily and quickly reusable by anyone several times, compared to the common wooden ones. They were designed and then produced together with the local welder and the master rammers.

Responding to tropical climate conditions the building has steep-pitched roof, with open gable and high peak to allow air circulation as well as wind-oriented pitches which channel cross breezes.
Rubber stripes were also fixed directly under the covering sheets, using half garden hose, to reduce rainwater noise.
The aim was to find out cheap solutions to be reproduced by anyone from different social status, in order to empower living conditions through simple changes.

In this project sustainability means working with the lowest budget, in order to achieve a cost-effective building according to local dwellers affordability. Reducing the cost, while using natural materials combined with innovative solutions, anyone within the community will be able to enhance his dwelling condition, despite personal resources.

Issues encountered

Lack of management and planning of activities by the Foundation despite his high media coverage. Many buildings built by the foundation are still not craft life. The remoteness of the Village of Arts from the real village (5 min walk) does not facilitate the involvement of the population, which continues to perceive it as a place “other”, it does not include the objects and advantages of the techniques to his inner experience.

Solution found

It comes the need to build a building in the village of Abetenim which starts from a real need of the people, involving them and make clear the actual technical accessibility.
With these intentions, the team was able to meet LOAD Opoku.

See the project development and technical description.

Designing team:
LOAD (Lorenzo Conti, Sara Bettoli, Mattia Lucchetti)

Local Workers: Edward Anpomah (muratore), Opoku Sakodie (muratore), Abass Mohammed (muratore), Adamu Salifu (muratore), Kwame Yeboah (muratore), Kwaku Agyei (muratore), Kofi Asante (muratore), Sebe Antwibright (muratore), Yaw Mensah (muratore), Bugyei Boateng (muratore), Kwaku Agygemang (carpentiere), Sarfo (carpentiere), Odass (muratore), Abubakar (carpentiere), Andrews (idraulico), Kofi Nketia (elettricista), Kwame (elettricista), Kwame (saldatore).

Volunteers: Ascenzi Maria Beatrice, Bina Francesca, Bonzagni Linda, Bordina Arianna, Borsari Paolo, Cesarini Mattia Emanuel, Cipriano Rosalba, Damato Paolo, Donadoni Martina, Franceschini Mattia, Gernow Amalie, Giamesio Luca, Marsili Sara, Montecchi Elsa, Nowak Aleksander, Pellizzola Chiara, Porfido Enrico, Serger Claire, Vanelli Francesca, Ventresca Ilenia, Venturini Giovanna, Villani Alessandro, Weiler Lara, Windley Georgina.

We truly thank all the donors and supporters who gave us the possibility to build this project for all Abetenim’s people.



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