The objective of this competition was to create a fully equipped educational center for the Teach On the Beach Organization in the town of Busua, Ghana. The aim was to design a space that offers a welcoming and suitable environment for learning, socializing, and community involvement.
Inspired by the importance of the drum in local customs and its social impact of bringing people together, the proposed design aims to create a harmonious and sustainable environment that reflects the community’s identity and TOB’s mission of providing cultural exchange opportunities that inspire and empower young people. The proposal places emphasis on the community hub which serves as the heart of the site, providing views of the ocean and the town of Busua. Located on the Northeast corner of the site, the two-story bamboo structure takes inspiration from the shape and cultural significance of the traditional Ghanaian talking drum and creates a visually appealing landmark that stands out within the landscape.
The classroom, outdoor gathering, and volunteer dorms are strategically positioned to radiate around the cultural hub. This design approach creates a sense of visual hierarchy and connection to the heart of the site. The building organization creates in between nodes that are utilized for gardening and outdoor play activities. Each building is designed with moveable screens that open to the adjacent garden orchard; creating a seamless connection that allows students and volunteers transition effortlessly between indoor and outdoor learning spaces, fostering a sense of curiosity and exploration. The integration of the classroom and garden orchard promotes direct engagement with nature, creating an immersive learning environment.
The design utilizes various passive cooling strategies such as the integration of courtyards and pitched roof openings for air flow. Compressed Earth Blocks (CEB) sourced from the site are used as the main building material for the classrooms and volunteer dorms while the roofs are constructed from locally sourced thatch.
The Beat of Busua, with the integration of cultural artifacts, creates a vibrant environment that celebrates Ghanaian traditions, fosters a sense of community, and empowers students through agency of space.