Private legal practitioner cum media practitioner and political strategist, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko is calling on Ghanaians to give credit to award winning architect, Sir David Adjaye for producing a world class design which reduced the cost of the district hospital in the government’s flagship Agenda 111 Hospital project.
According to him, the design produced by the lead architect for the agenda 111 project, Adjaye Associates reduced the cost of a district hospital almost half.
The member of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) explained that the world most celebrated architect was only contracted by government to design one standard district hospital for a record low price compared to the prices of district hospitals constructed in Ghana.
He wondered why some section of Ghanaians, especially members of opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) have suddenly developed hate for the renowned architect instead of applauding him for helping the nation to save cost.
“So why this big negative focus on one of the world’s most celebrated starchitects, David Adjaye? He is Ghanaian and his firm, Adjaye Associates, is Ghanaian, with offices also in London and New York. He has not been engaged to design 101 or 111 hospitals. No! He designed just one and did a damn good job at it which should give us a bargain of “buy 1 get 1 free.”
“He was legally contracted as lead architect to design one standard district hospital and his task was to do so at a record low price with a significant use of local materials, to be environmentally friendly and to do all this at a high quality standard. This is what we are paying for,” he clarified.
Giving background on how the agenda 111 project design came by, Mr. Otchere-Darko indicated that “Government first procured the services of Hospital Infrastructure Group Ltd, owned by the highly respected Kwabena Nyarko, former Vice President of GREDA, to coordinate the single largest health infrastructure project ever commissioned in Ghana, the Agenda 111 project, working closely with the Ministry of Health.
“HIG engaged the services of some key architects, engineers, surveyors, etc, to deliver on this important mandate. HIG’s job is to let the hospitals be designed and built as much as possible by Ghanaians, using as much as possible local materials, and to do so at a cost far lower than we are used to paying.”
Mr. Otchere-Darko mentioned the number of local firms, especially architects contracted by the government and not only David Adjaye’s Adjaye Associates.
“In all, over 20 Ghanaian Architectural and Engineering Consulting firms and 300 Ghanaian built-industry professionals are participating in the delivery of Agenda 111.Sir David only designed one standard district hospital! His job is not to build them!
“Sutherland & Sutherland Architects, designed the new Accra Psychiatric Hospital. Which means that once done we will finally have a decent, modern, well-equipped, friendly to visit psychiatric hospital in the heart of the capital city.
“Another Ghanaian firm, Victor Randolph, did the standard specialist psychiatric hospital. Which means that now if you live in the middle belt or in the North, you don’t have to come to Accra for a specialised mental care. Another team of Ghanaian architects were tasked to design the standard regional hospital, which will serve the six new regions. Photos of the various designs by the various architects are attached to this post.
Stating how David Adjaye’s company have save cost for the nation, he stated that “His specific design job was to come out with a standard design for a district hospital. He has delivered a world class standard design and at $17 million per hospital.
District hospital normally costs between $30-35 million. This is like “Buy 1 Get 1 Free!” Sadly, we have chosen not to celebrate the fact that we are getting over 5 million people in 101 districts to be served with 101 hospitals at a price that would have provided about 50 hospitals serving 50% fewer.
“There is another 8 Ghanaian consultanting firms, whose services have also been procured through PPA, to supervise zonally the execution of all the 101 district hospitals across the country.”
Mr. Otchere-Darko wondered the offence of the celebrated architect to attract hatred from some persons in the country.
“So what has been the crime of Sir David? His design does not use the antiquated materials of cement block and mortar for the hospitals. It is interlocking earth bricks system, using local laterite from the respective regions. This has helped to bring down the cost. It also means, building with speed. He is using locally insulated roofing sheets.
His design allows for natural ventilation. It shows how we can build better, cheaper and relying more on locally produced materials,” he questioned.
He was optimistic that some African countries copy the idea invested and the work done in the Agenda 11, calling on Ghanaians to support the project to succeed than discredit the project.
“Mark this down. I foresee other African countries modelling their hospitals and schools from the designs, technology, materials and engineering that have gone into Agenda 111. We are doing something that, in my view, will set the standards for providing healthcare facilities for Africa and beyond. For me, we have something to be proud of and let’s help it succeed. We may or may not celebrate the team making it happen, but let us not malign them. It can be demoralising.
“This team, including Adjaye Associates worked under HIG and closely with Ministry of Health and other stakeholders to develop the brief as well as the designs and technical details for the various hospital types (District, Psychiatric and Regional) which have been approved by the Ministry of Health. There are several others as wel,” according to him.
By Vincent Kubi