Having made the first and key step towards reviving the Ghanaian village of Mampong, Lebanese-Ghanaian firm KEY Architecture Group celebrated the past of the village which continues to contribute to its economic boost. Architects and founders Hussein and Imad Fakhry have conceptualized the Tetteh Quarshie Cocoa Museum, planned to be built on the very farm where the first cocoa seeds were planted on the Gold Coast in Ghana.
The Gold Coast area holds particular significance in the story of Ghana’s economics and growth. So much so that at a point, the country was responsible for a little over half of the world’s cocoa production. Now, these ideas have been shared at Design Indaba Festival in an exhibition that included plans, animations and 3D renders.
Also as a follow-up, KEY Architecture gave the viewers a history of the crop and its significance in Ghana’s socio-economic make-up. The spotlight was shown on how projects like these can aid development and education. Cocoa being the integral point, of course, there’ll be some educating on the process of chocolate-making too.
Ghanaian agriculturalist Tetteh Quarshie first made a discovery of the seeds on a voyage to the Spanish colonies of Equatorial Guinea in 1879. He’d gone on to plant the first seeds on Ghanaian soil at Mampong just outside of the capital Accra. And the rest, as they say, is history.
After they reflected on the impact the crop has had on the country over the centuries, KEY Architect’s concept began. “The idea was based on the importance of cocoa in the socioeconomic landscape of Ghana and the importance of highlighting on the leadership of Tetteh Quarchie in that industry and how one positive thought can affect the lives of millions of people throughout history. Attention to context is something the firm doesn’t take lightly, and they incorporate this approach across all their design projects, from residential to business and hospitality. “Our practice is distinguished in our design procedures which is always based on research and on contextual understanding for the project and its location,” Hussein said.
Their goal is to put in place a multidisciplinary space with a mix of cultural attractions and entertainment. The plans were commissioned by Ghana’s tourism ministry, included the museum itself, an Amphitheatre, restaurant, multipurpose hall, a factory, and landscaped outside the area.
The design also proposes that the whole process from cocoa harvesting through to fermentation, roasting and manufacturing be accommodated at the site. A vast amount of consideration and research went into the project, particularly to ensure that it is designed to context. The mountainous location, in an instance, meant that most of the spaces enjoyed cross-ventilation. The use of local materials is both a sustainable design decision, as well as a factor that distinguishes the space aesthetically. This includes the use of clay bricks, local wood and thatched roofs in a certain part. In order to incorporate the museum with the larger community, Key Architects will include a public trail. The aim here is to allow the project to blend into the life of the villagers.
What holds for the future as the next step in their process for the Tetteh Quarshie Cocoa Museum is to source and secure funding together with the Tourism Ministry, to realize the goal of raising the Mampong community.
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