The builders of Ghana : traditions of today and tomorrow

ZAWISTOWSHI, Marie, ZAWISTOWSHI, Keith, 2008. The builders of Ghana : traditions of today and tomorrow. Chicago ; Paris : Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts ; Conservatoire national des arts et métiers. 86 p.




Passionate about both architecture and construction, it is with regret that in our own countries, we are witnessing the disappearance of ancestral building knowledge, progressively being replaced by uniform techniques. With this, we are losing behaviors which are essential to the equilibrium of our humanity: the response to the geography and the climate of place, the use of local resources, the sharing of knowledge among generations, the participation of community for a common benefit, and the building of traditions which permit each individual to understand his place in the world and in society. It is in an attempt to return to the source of this disappearing understanding that we traveled to Ghana, in West Africa, a place where building are delicate earthworks, which require seasonal maintenance and are thus the living expression of a vibrant culture of builders. These architectures reflect an art of living with each other and with nature. They are the result of an intelligent, sensual, and deeply human approach whose principles repond to an ideal which contemporary cultures are loosing the key to. The aim of our work in Ghana is to valorize this well founded thinking which is in peril here, as well as there.


With support from

The Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts,
Fondation Besnard de Quelen pour l’Innovation
dans la Construction,
Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers.


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