Resilient Waterfront Architecture and Planning to curb Sprawl on reservoir fronts - An Ecological Centre Design

Cornelius Boateng
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology

Idea projektu

After its creation in 1977, the Weija Reservoir(Ghana) has been facing encroachment due to rapid urbanisation in its surrounding environment. With the aid of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing technology, the designated buffer for the Weija reservoir was mapped for the Ga-South Municipality and the degree of encroachment determined.

It was observed that, as of 2021, about 13% of the Weija reservoir’s buffer had been encroached by settlements in the municipality. The reasons for the encroachment of the Weija reservoir’s buffer were the lack of collaboration among the various stakeholders within the framework of the reservoir’s use, management and maintenance. "Buildings grew overnight" - An Official said during an interview.

Making known the relevance of riparian ecology becomes a necessity in fostering sustainable development and reserve management around the reservoir. Questions that drove the design then included the how(s) of creating awareness and fostering collaborations to better understand how best man is to live in harmony with such riparian ecologies.

The study focused on a community at the waterfront, Tomefa in Weija - Ghana. Urban scale proposals against sprawl were made and a centre for community education and empowerment was proposed as well - An Ecological Centre.

On a community scale, urban design principles for developing resilience against sprawl to improve the ecological lives of the people and aquatic lives at the Weija waterfront is proposed (Protecting Riparian vegetation, Zoning, Densification etc). A sustainable zoning from the buildable area toward the waterfront is proposed.

Various stakeholders that would have been at separate places are brought under one roof to foster collaborations toward successful human-nature mutual coexistence studies and practices.

Popis projektu

The facility serves as a judge/mediator between humans and riparian ecology with its the form(s) taking cues from the basic unit material used for construction and the nearest vegetation close to the reservoir.

There’s an attempt to represent riparian vegetation as a necessity for the survival of ecosystems. A strength often ignored by the inhabitants of riparian communities.

Compositionally, the design caters for Natural Resource management, Building and Development research and Community empowerment.

The facility has three blocks; the Research and training block lies in between a water treatment unit on the south and a maintenance unit on the north.

The Research and training block is a four storey structure with a basement that houses equipment for testing sustainable construction materials that will facilitate densification of housing around riparian regions.

Entering the ground floor through the reception on the west, one is embrace with a grandeur hall that doubles as an exhibition space and a lecture hall where new knowledge on how to build close to riparian vegetation will be transferred from expects to the common building contractors, fisherman or other lay persons in the community. Other spaces on the ground floor includes a multipurpose training space, the main kitchen, a cafeteria outlooking the reservoir, disability friendly washrooms and a water pond to improve indoor temperatures.

At the south, the facility's water treatment unit, takes advantage of the low topography of the site to harness rainwater runoffs from surrounding residence, to be collected, filtered and treated for use and for safe discharge into the reservoir (improving the water quality of the reservoir)

From the ground floor the two staircases and a lift leads to subsequent floors comprising offices, training spaces, conference rooms and collaborative discussion spaces for stakeholders.

Integrated into the buildings forms is the integrations of interactive gardens for relaxation and effective working conditions.

Technické informace

The design materiality is inspired with the careful interplay of indigenous construction materials like concrete and timber. The intention is to depict the mutuality that could exist among the inhabitants and the riparian vegetation.

Basement is lit by light rays through lightwells reflected unto bright coloured basement ceiling. In addition, light pours into the basement from the opening on the north of the basement.

Spanning over the the double volume is a waffle slab with its rib beams centred 3ft in two ways. This is to reduce interruption from structural members in the exhibition space.

The eggcrate shading on the south of the 2nd and 3rd floors of the research unit housing greeneries for improved indoor air quality, is made from aluminium frame and coated with recycled polycarbonate plastic as extra protection.

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