I do confess, during my time in Melbourne, I sometimes contemplated whether I really wanted to continuing my Walz or whether I should go back home and continue studying. I guess 10 months almost uninterruptedly spent in the “model den” have left its marks in my mind. Yet I decided not to give up so close to fulfilling my goal to work as an architect on every single continent (except for Antarctica).
So in the last week of May I packed my bags, left Australia and headed straight to… *drumroll* Berlin! No, not to work there, just to pick up my visa as I would only get it in my home country. After only three days in the German capital, I moved on to: ACCRA, GHANA, which is where I will spend the upcoming months working with Mustard Architecture – a young office founded by a former architect with David Adjaye (arguably Ghana’s most famous architect (who himself works from London)). I am looking forward to experiencing an African approach to architecture, curiously balancing imported, western construction techniques on one hand and climatic challenges as well as perhaps vernacular building methods on the other.
I started working in the beginning of June and was welcomed properly by Ghana with a power outage lasting for hours on my first day. When there was nothing left to do without power I was told “Let’s forget today – your first day is tomorrow.” In the following days I quickly integrated into the team and finally picked up proper architectural work again. Currently I am working on construction plans for a residential building in Accra and soon we will start working on the Ghanaian submission for an architecture exhibition in London.
I can’t believe it’s already been four weeks since I got here! Yet I do feel like I already got quite used to Accra. When admittedly I was a little overwhelmed at the beginning, I did get a grip on the city relatively quickly. I now know where things are and how to move around and have already tried many of the local dishes (Two words: Jollof rice!) – so at least I won’t starve or get lost! I used my first weekend to do “sightseeing” consisting of some colonial leftovers (Ussher Fort, Christiansburg Castle) and some newer landmarks celebrating national pride (Independence Arch, Black Star Square). I’ve also already been petting lions in an animal sanctuary, did a high rope course in a botanical garden, almost drowned on the beach, listened to a speech on “afri-esthetics” in architecture, got drunk at a funeral of a person I didn’t know, went sailing on a lake and watched the first Ghanaian football match in the Africa Cup of Nations. Sure enough I made some new friends on the way and I’m looking forward to more adventures to come…