Villaggio Vista

Accra, Ghana. 2016

  • Project Details
  • Completion: 2016
  • Cost: £80 Million
  • Clients: T.E.D.C.

Responding to local conditions, but also creating its own, Villaggio Vista is a new landmark for Accra. By demonstrating the possibility of building high-rise in an equatorial, earthquake-risk location, the scheme offers a new housing prototype for Ghana’s emerging middle-class. Four thermally-massive buildings, ranging from seven to 30 storeys, are positioned to capture a central leafy landscape. Each building is distinguished by a boldly patterned skin inspired by Kente weavings and cantilevering upper floors that address specific local and more distant landmarks. Developed in conjunction with engineers AKT, these cantilevers harness local conditions by maximising high-level internalised spaces; apartments centre on large, semi-enclosed sky courtyards that bring light into the deep plans. Window openings – limited, tall and narrow – are recessed into the inner line of the façade to reduce solar gain. The project’s first stage (completed in 2011) offers 36 apartments across two connected buildings and a roof top terrace with pool. The future two stages (currently on site) will provide a further 110 apartments, offices, retail accommodation and a gym.

Located in Accra, Ghana, Villaggio II is the second phase of the Villaggio complex for Ghanaian developer Trasacco Estates Development Co. (T.E.D.C.). It consists of approximately 38,500sqm of predominately residential accommodation with associated parking. Also included are a small commercial office component as well as ground floor retail / restaurant and gym.

Villaggio II is the tallest building in West Africa and AHMM’s first project in the Country. Completed after five years work, it is a landmark development for the Client and a beacon of development, not just in Ghana but for the whole West African region. The development caters to the newly emerging middle and professional classes, particularly the growing number of Ghanaian expats returning home. This is sign of growing confidence in the country as its stability and economic strength continues to grow.

The scheme comprises four buildings, each with a projecting end orientating the building to address a local landmark - Lake Volta, Achimota Forest Reserve, the Gulf of Guinea. Structural design by Adams Kara Taylor focuses on construction methods and technologies appropriate to the area.The buildings surround a central landscape and the ground plane consists of a linear paving and planting matrix, forming “rugs” associated with each building. The paving is locally produced and permeable, the planting is native and consists of three height layers of shrubs and trees offering extensive shading. Pools of water interlock within the linear pattern providing areas to sit and wade as well as the opportunity to collect rainwater for re-use.

The buildings share a common architectural language and materiality, but are subtly different from each other through the use of colour. There are two fundamentally different façade treatments; one essentially planar and coloured, the other highly modeled and monochromatic. The planar façade design takes its cue from the patterns and colours of the traditional Kente fabric, one of the symbols of Ghanaian chieftaincy. 

A number of measures are employed to respond to the equatorial tropical location. The buildings are heavily insulated and employ a rainscreen with an enlarged ventilation cavity to reduce the solar load. Window openings are limited and then are recessed and shaded. Modern market conditions dictate that the buildings are air conditioned, so the environmental strategy developed in conjunction with Hallcrow Yolles is focused on keeping cool in and heat out. Solar thermal panels will take advantage of the sun to provide hot water. 

Apartments are designed around generous sky courtyards which are semi enclosed and therefore shaded external spaces. These provide diffuse light deep in to the plan. With appropriate planting and materials these spaces will form a visual and environmental oasis at the heart of each apartment. 

The project demonstrates that it is possible to build high-rise, high-quality residential accommodation in a hot, wet, equatorial location, where earthquakes are a risk and the local construction industry does not have the finesse of their western counterparts. Despite all of this the development has been a huge local success and with future phases including restaurants and bars it is on course to become a key destination area in Accra.

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