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Common, Communal, Community

The Compound House Typology

by YAA Projects

© MAGAZIN 2023

Common, Communal, Community
The Compound House Typology

Common, Communal, Community documents the compound house as a communal dwelling typology in Ghana. Based on an ongoing research project, the work investigates the historical and contemporary condition of this housing form.

Staged across three rooms, the exhibition explores this typology through fragments, drawings and photography which document three compound houses from various regions in Ghana, documented during a three-week research visit in 2022. A palette of everyday materials - earth, brick, timber and corrugated roofing sheets - is used to create simple construction forms which reference the utility of this building typology in its current form. The exhibition also reflects on the typology’s ephemeral and spiritual qualities. Through material, form and spatiality, Common, Communal, Community reflects on the key attributes of the compound house typology. These attributes – in particular the central compound space and the veranda – create a layered range of public, semi-public, semi-private and private space. This exposure to both public and private life within the home fosters a sense of civility. The house becomes both a private domain and civic space.

This research project investigates the compound house typology not only as historical artefact but as an adaptable housing typology that appropriately translates history, climate and culture and could be translated for the future of urban development in African cities as well as in Europe where it could promote more communal forms of dwelling.

Opening  13.10.2023    7 pm 

Exhibition  14.10.-18.11.2023

Panel Discussion  28.10.2023    7 pm 

with Nana Biamah-Ofosu, Baerbel Mueller & Abdul Rauf Issahaque

YAA Projects

YAA projects is a London based architecture, design and research practice directed by Nana Biamah-Ofosu. Our work is dedicated to exploring diasporic culture, material and histories through making, speaking and writing architecture. Our work aims to centre peripheral identities to create a more inclusive, holistic understanding of the built environment.

Recent projects include the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Applied Arts Pavilion, Tropical Modernism: Architecture and Power in West Africa at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition, Althea McNish: Colour is Mine at the William Morris gallery in London and the Whitworth art gallery in Manchester as well as the Archiafrika pavilion in Venice. The practice engages in intelligent and contextually rich projects, working across a variety of scales and interests - from exhibitions and interiors to residential, housing, public spaces and cultural projects.

Writing and speaking architecture through teaching and research are important aspects of the practice. We are involved in architectural education in the UK and internationally. Our current research projects include a study of the African compound housing typology, with a publication in 2024 and an ongoing survey of diasporic communities in London and the UK.