Along the Atlantic coast of Ghana’s Central Region in Apam, Vienna-based, trans-disciplinary lab [applied] Foreign Affairs has designed and erected a giant bamboo dome for the Haduwa Arts & Culture Institute, an open institution for artists and cultural practitioners from Africa and Europe. The large-scale project, which was built together with local experts and locals, serves as a multipurpose stage. The experimental structure was constructed with ‘Bambusa vulgaris,’ one of the few species of bamboo available in Ghana that can be used for construction.

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palm trees and beach near large bamboo arch

Designed to serve as a beacon of bamboo architecture in Ghana, the Haduwa Arts & Culture Institute stage features a grid shell built primarily of bamboo. “Constructing with bamboo is also meant to foster the reputation of sustainable architecture in Ghana,” the architects explained. The project’s bamboo consultant, Jörg Stamm, adds that the aim of the project is “to put Ghana on the world map of bamboo.”

Related: Student designs inflatable bamboo greenhouses for sustainable farming

people dancing under bamboo archway
close-up of bamboo structure

To that end, bamboo was used for both the main structural elements and the joinery. Thousands of bamboo nails were produced — instead of metal elements that can corrode in salty conditions — and used to join together bamboo arches, the culms of which were treated with borax. Once the main structure was erected, the designers covered it with a durable “skin” resistant to strong wind forces that also protects the structure from tropical rains and the intense sunlight.

people laying out fishing nets on beach
aerial view of large white arch near the ocean

Set close to the water, the Haduwa Arts & Culture Institute stage takes advantage of cooling ocean breezes. The bamboo roof connects a rammed earth stage on the south side with a concrete plinth to the north. The site also includes a wooden deck, a café, a lounge and entrances to the beach. The open nature of the stage allows for a variety of seating configurations. 

+ [applied] Foreign Affairs

Photography by Julien Lanoo