• Kwame Nkrumah Presidential Library/ Mario Cucinella Architects

Architects: Mario Cucinella Architects  
Location: Akosombo, Volta Lake,  Ghana
Project Team: Mario Cucinella, Luca Sandri, Emanuele Dionigi, Monica Luppi, Michele Olivieri, Pietro Marziali, Gabriele Motta, Giulia Pentella, Yuri Costantini (model), Ambra Cicognani (model)
Project Year: 2013
Photographer: Rendering: Cristian Chierici CC 79; Engram Studio

The Kwame Nkrumah Presidential Library was born from the dream of Samia Nkrumah, the daughter of a political leader Kwame Nkrumah who led Ghana to independence in 1957, and is now leading the political movement of the father Convention people’s party.

The design of the library, developed in collaboration with the same Samia Nkrumah, is a cultural project that promotes a model of sustainable development capable of dealing with the environmental issues and able to engage the local population through the accessibility of the educational service, the cultural offer and the comparison with the new technologies. The library is designed as a large square of knowledge: a tool for catalyst engine privileged society and social innovation.

 

The building is in fact organized as a mixed functional program that addresses the issue of education as a whole: they provide spaces for reading and consultation but also spaces of encounter and confrontation. There are spaces for events and conferences, workshops and activities of co-working. Workshops for the music, the visual arts and crafts. The library will become part of the network of the Ghanaian education system ranks as one key tool for the training of new generations.

In Ghana, 83% of the population does not have Internet in schools and not all students are able to have access to books. For this reason, the involvement of young people must become a fundamental element of any cultural project as a guarantee of social inclusion. It will be possible to accept graduates for internships and educational activities for children. In addition, the library will offer the opportunity to train new professionals in the field of culture and education.

 

THE PROJECT SITE
You choose to locate the project at Akosombo, near Lake Volta, the largest artificial lake in the world, with approximately 8502 km ² of surface area and 148 cubic kilometers of water stored : one of the most important water reserves of the globe. In particular, the dam of Lake Volta, sponsored by the Kwame Nkrumah, produces electricity for most of Ghana and plays a vital role for the local industry.
More than 2 million people live near the lake, the source of drinking water and fishing site.

FUNCTIONAL DESCRIPTION OF COMPONENTS
The library is a building of 4600m2 arranged on six levels. It consists of circular -plan floors arranged around a large central void, designed according to a flexible scheme that allows the organization mobile and diverse interior spaces. A system of ramps and walkways is the vertical distribution within the building. Through the curtain system maintains the perception continues in all directions of the surrounding landscape.

 

At the entrance level is the reception and children’s area. This is immediately connected to the first floor which houses space for laboratories and workshops, as well as areas for exhibitions of art and architecture and space dedicated to art of how to do, where there will be a 3D lab. The upper floors of the library are allocated for consultation and reading rooms; here is a space dedicated to Kwame Nkrumah hosting thematic texts and his personal archive.

The last level is a large panoramic floor that houses the restaurant business and leisure. In the basement is added to a 300-seat auditorium for conferences and events and has a second separate entrance so you can operate independently of the library.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS AND SUSTAINABLE TECHNOLOGIES
The Kwame Nkrumah’s Presidential Library is a bioclimatic building able to maintain high levels of thermal comfort, visual and audible throughout the year thanks to the balance of a few elements: shape, materials and simple technologies. We use sustainable materials, promoting the use of local and renewable materials, such as wood.

In particular, will be used for building fine wood recovered from Lake Volta. Are expected photovoltaic panels in coverage for the production of electricity in order to enhance the weather conditions of the site? Installations for the recovery of rainwater guarantee saving environmental resources. The protection against solar radiation occurs encouraging natural ventilation and shading generated by the large cantilevered floors and reflecting glasses that heat build-up. The green will represent an important source of cooling.

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