The sweltering climate of Accra, Ghana, encourages architecture that forgoes heat-trapping glass. But a new airport terminal and office building designed by Mario Cucinella Architects with Deweger Gruter Brown & Partners is challenging the norm with a completely windowed structure supported and protected from the sun by deep concrete overhangs and angled, asymmetrical columns.
The first green commercial complex in Ghana, One Airport Square is sheltered from the sun’s hottest rays by its unique brise soleil. The visual rhythm of the exterior was inspired by the designs found in traditional local art and the uneven growth of palm tree bark. But the structure’s concrete simplicity and visual geometry also evokes a retro, midcentury feeling, and a faintly airy brutalism.
An interior courtyard acts as a passive "hot air exhaust" for the 17,000-square-meter building, taking advantage of typical wind direction and temperature-modulated air movements to generate natural ventilation.
The stark design is a far cry from the wood-dominated organic curves of Cucinella’s funky Italian Kindergarten, but —like most of the firm’s buildings—both structures have a sustainable edge.