While the team has been hard at work these last few months to develop the policies and mechanisms to get the Fieldhouse up and running, Kafiya and I discovered some interesting factors which compelled us to rethink how the building will look and feel. Originally the Fieldhouse was designed with classic wood framing, however as we learn more about the site and the locality, we decided to shift to concrete construction. The construction will be concrete exterior to go with the Ghanaian typology, however the interior will be drywall clad and painted. With white boards, desks, and supplies, the interior environment will be a space to promote intellectual growth, and create new life skills.
The mix of coastal air and relentless African heat creates consistent levels of humidity, which would likely shorten the life of a wooden structure susceptible to rotting. To move forward with the wood design would neglect one of our core principles of sustainability and contradict our goal of longevity.
Ghanaian communities have a specific motif and typology. Most construction in a typical Ghanaian community is concrete and can be characterized by a distinct shape. We at the Fieldhouse team want our implementation to integrate seamlessly, and to feel as though it is part of their community once constructed. Again, had we moved on with the wooden design, we would be imposing a juxtaposition upon this community which certainly does not help our model of community ownership. Furthermore, a wood framed, contemporary structure would be foreign and might dissuade some children from trusting this new environment.
Lastly, given that concrete is what the people of Nyanyano know, it is what we expect the contractors to be best at. What we are doing is ambitious and we need to pick our battles carefully and utilize the knowledge and capacities on the ground in Ghana in order to maximize our impact given what we have to work with.
By design, the Fieldhouse Project is driven to make the children of Ghana feel comfortable in this new environment and compelled to return and participate throughout their childhood and adolescent years.
I’m looking forward to showing you all what we are working on as we continue and refine the design of The Fieldhouse.