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Architecture students travel to Ghana to immerse themselves in the culture and environment

This past spring, students and professors from the Department of Architecture’s Humanitarian Architecture studio “Interplay of Cultures” traveled to Ghana to deepen their understanding of architectural practices in various cultural contexts.
Locals in Accra
Locals in Accra, Ghana. Photo by Janina Hedström.

Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture’s Humanitarian Architecture studio “Interplay of Cultures,” along with students and teachers from Tampere Faculty of Built Environment (Architecture), traveled to the city of Kumasi in Ghana, West Africa, where they learned about their cultural differences and similarities while strengthening their understanding of the living environment of the old Asante culture in Ghana. 

They worked together with local students from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) to implement an urban survey of Kumasi by immersing themselves in the city and its culture and by mingling with its people. The students were divided into groups for field work and analysis; they interacted with locals, learned about their culture, sketched, observed and interviewed locals, as well as participated in local workshops to learn about their values and needs. Kumasi is a unique and historically significant city with a tropical climate – a point that students had to factor in during their field work. 

They developed their knowledge on building sustainable design solutions as well as building with cultural awareness. In the process, students were challenged to reassess their values systems and sense of responsibility. 

Kumasi, Ghana
Kumasi, Ghana. Photo by Janina Hedström.

After their field work, students traveled to Cape Coast, where they participated in a canopy walk in the forest and visited Elmina castle, where they were educated on the West African slave trade. They finished their trip in Accra, where they visited African art museums and traditional markets.

Although the students have since returned to Aalto’s campus in Otaniemi, their studio work and collaboration with architecture students from KNUST continues online. Their work will be exhibited at Designs for a Cooler Planet at Aalto University in fall 2023.

Click here more on the trip and the course

Click here for more on WiTLAB, the research and education unit that houses the Interplay of Cultures studio

The Interplay of Cultures Studio 2023 is organized together with Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in the city Kumasi in Ghana is a part of the research and education unit Aalto WiTLAB. This year students and teachers from Tampere Faculty of Built environment (Architecture) also joined the course and field trip.

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