Arch + Eng, Art, Design, Education, Sci + Tech, Social Impact

Dispatches from the Field: Art, Architecture, and the Everyday

While only one project was selected as the winner of the 2014 Fuller Challenge, due to generous support from our sponsors, BFI extended its Catalyst Program offerings to an additional selection of outstanding initiatives, including the Haduwa Arts and Culture Institute in recognition of their transdisciplinary approach to working at the intersection of artistic practice, economic development, and the built environment.


Applied Foreign Affairs ([a]FA) has recently completed the first stage of implementation for the Haduwa Arts & Culture Institute in Apam in collaboration with a team of Accra-based students and design allies. Located on the Atlantic coastline of Ghana's Central Region, the Institute functions as an open space for independent artistic, cultural, and architectural experimentation. Under the broad umbrella of long-term sustainability discourse, the Institute aims to provoke an exploration of social engagement within the artistic community in Ghana and foster the growth and promotion of the community through both practice and pedagogy.


As the project lead, Baerbel Mueller states, “As more and more young artists in Ghana are moving from product-focused to dialogical forms of art, new working modes, new networks, and alternative spaces of artistic production and (re)presentation are being requested. How can these forms of cultural practice be housed? How can this claim be translated into a territorial setting? Experiencing the site [in Apam] and its context intensely allows for an understanding of ecology: a set of environmental and cultural parameters could be catalogued based on body-space, and resulting in appropriately framed interventions. The challenge became to generate a culturally, ecologically, and economically new typological model of an open institutional space, which mingles the diverse temporalities of architecture, art, and the everyday. The type of reactive space that has been created epitomizes an alternative to total social and aesthetic control: an unfamiliar piece of bamboo architecture, which is difficult to categorize, as it is not a 'proper' building, but it is also not just a secondary landscape.”


Buckminster Fuller often said that "the best way to predict the future is to design it." Stay tuned for more news from the Haduwa team as they nurture their burgeoning designer community, inviting the artistic visions of Ghanaian people to engage with the challenges of today.