Conserving West African Modernism Communiqué

The Communique below was issued at the conclusion of the conference:


At the inaugural workshop / conference, ‘Conserving West African Modernism and Urbanism’, held at KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana on 13-14 July 2015 – an event which involved staff and student participants from the KNUST Junior High School, KNUST Architecture postgraduates, and which was attended by a range of national and international invitees including the Ghanaian architectural luminaries Prof. J. Owusu-Addo, Prof. H. N. A. Wellington, and Arc. S. O. Larbi, along with Prof. Miles Glendinning from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland – it was agreed to pursue the following specific objectives:


  • To continue with the primary objective of the project in supporting and developing an appreciation and culture of conservation in West Africa, in collaboration with DOCOMOMO International – commencing with the task of researching and conserving the heritage modernist movement campus layout and buildings at KNUST, Kumasi, and pursuing the establishment of a Ghanaian national chapter of DOCOMOMO;


  • To work to develop collaborative research links related to KNUST’s building history, with the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (University of Edinburgh) and the Liverpool School of Architecture (University of Liverpool), with expected joint academic research outputs.


  • To explore the possibilities of developing a Department of Architecture -KNUST Masters programme in history/ conservation studies with support and collaboration from the Scottish Centre for Conservation Studies (SCCS) at the University of Edinburgh, and the Liverpool School of Architecture (LSA);


  • To seek funding to develop a West African Modernism Archival Project, (WAMAP) which would have the Department of Architecture, KNUST as its centre. Its objective will be to create a digital archive of KNUST’s extant material records of its historical development, comprising plans, models, and oral histories contributed by surviving actors involved in the founding and development of the campus. This project would aim ultimately to evolve into an international centre and nexus for modernist building research in West Africa.


In this communiqué we also acknowledge the desirability of developing full links with cognate research and academic bodies within Ghana, including the Institute of African Studies and the Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies, at the University of Ghana, Legon, together with other associated educational and professional institutions, including the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board, the Ghana National Archives, the Ghana Institute of Architects, and ArchiAfrika.


Signed in Kumasi 15th July 2015

Dr Rexford Assasie Oppong Dr Ola Uduku
Department of Architecture,Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, University of Edinburgh, Scotland