Growing Canopies is a comprehensive proposal for improvements to holistic health in Kumasi, Ghana. Addressing healthcare, waste management, and eco-therapy, the plan presents two case studies creating intersections between ecology and architecture.
The theme of the EP Exhibit 2016 is It Takes a Community. Selected projects showcase the best work from young designers highlighting community impact and engagement.
Kumasi’s landscape consists of a series of ecological corridors that transverse the city, creating green connections through its fabric. These lands fall under the traditional Chief’s authority but are presently threatened by the encroachment of housing, informal commerce, agriculture and industry. These corridors, as key areas of productive canopies and sustainable harvesting, are safeguarded while contributing to the region’s economy.
The pharmaceutical industry has been noted as an essential area of investment for the city of Kumasi. Favorable governmental policies coupled with human knowledge capital emerging from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) provide the city with competitive advantages in developing this industry locally.
The increase in demand for traditional herbal medicines suggest cultivation of an industry focused on the production and distribution of these herbs—85 percent of which grow within the region’s semi-deciduous climate. A formal distribution corridor along the Tamale-Accra road, along with the upgrading of the airport, places Kumasi centrally within the nation and the sub-Saharan region.
Severe environmental degradation and frequent epidemics give the city the urgency to develop new treatments and drugs. The eco-corridors are also threatened by poor waste management. Providing a new system of collection as well as co-composting household and human wastes can begin to reduce the contamination of the city’s waterways. Currently filled with various types of waste, these waterways are distributing water-borne disease through direct human contact, dispersed agriculture irrigation and fostered mosquito proliferation. The cleaner irrigation water and newly produced compost would create higher yields for farmers as well as diminishing the spread of these diseases.
The comprehensive system comprises various elements of holistic health, such as the healthcare system, traditional herbal medicines, aspects of eco-therapy, allopathic pharmaceutical industry as well as waste management. This project aims to evolve a strategy that synthesizes these elements in order to have a meaningful impact on the overall health of the city of Kumasi.
Enhancing the overall approach of holistic health, nature embedded within urban and architectural environments can provide exceptional healing effects and healthier lifestyles. This strategy is manifested within the design of the specialty hospital for the West African Health Foundation (WAHF) in the rural town of Juaben.
Designed as a series of programmatic nodes interwoven with open-air circulation, courtyards and a productive landscape, the hospital’s patients can take advantage of the broadened ideas of holistic health. The intersection between the ecological and architectural canopies stresses the importance of nature penetrating the formal volumes of the hospital. Through its design, the building embodies the values of holistic health and aims to become an image that inspires future developments.