About Villaggio II
The second phase of the Villaggio development in Accra carefully references its culture, both visually and structurally. Though the design architect was based in the UK, the construction planning and process were undertaken by local organizations to bolster community involvement while staying true to traditional methods.
Accra is a swiftly growing urban area which is predominantly low-rise, contributing to a high rate of sprawl. As the Ghanian economy continues to strengthen, middle- and professional-class families are looking for appropriate housing opportunities within the city. As the tallest completed building in Ghana, Villaggio addresses the needs of an expanding city and changing population.
The overall scheme for the Villaggio development includes four buildings, each of which is oriented to address a local landmark. The inspiration for the colorful rainscreen façade treatment came from traditional Ghanian Kente fabric: a brightly colored and geometrically patterned textile that is native to the region. This material comprises a ventilated rainscreen that is appropriate for the equatorial climate, and stands in contrast to the more traditional and sober white concrete façades. These walls are simply poured concrete that were stuccoed over to allow for a high-performing thermal mass. Each building in the development has its own unique color and façade treatment, but the shared language of materials brings a uniformity to the complex as a whole.
The overall building construction is poured-in-place concrete with light-gauge steel infill walls which are highly insulated against the tropical heat. The window penetrations are tall and slender as well as recessed into the façade to provide shading against the harsh sun. This also reduces glare and increases occupant comfort. To compensate for the lack of direct sunlight, the plan of the buildings incorporates shaded and partially enclosed sky courtyards to allow outside access and light penetration to interior spaces in the complex.
Boasting “the essence of the village in the heart of the city,” the complex creates a sense of community through its architecture. At the center of the development is a landscaped courtyard with native plantings and wading pools for the residents. The ground treatment involves linear paving in conjunction with the vegetation to form “rugs” that are associated with each building in the complex, creating landscaped neighborhoods. The paving is locally produced and permeable while the planting is all native and provides a good deal of shading against the heat of the sun.
Taking advantage of the climactic conditions, the building also has solar hot-water heating to reduce its energy demand. Though the building must rely on air conditioning to combat summer heat, the heavily insulated and shaded strategy for the building was created to prevent overall heat gain. The distinctive projection of the tower’s offset floor plates also provides additional shading along the façade.
The roof level boasts a pool and terrace along with unique views of the surrounding city. The building also has underground parking, a restaurant, and a fitness center for its residents. The Villaggio complex will continue to grow with the new addition of the Vista tower, set to be 27 stories tall. Once complete, the development will represent a new typology in community growth for a rapidly developing area.