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General News of Sunday, 29 August 2021


If you won’t celebrate David Adjaye, don’t malign him – Gabby Otchere-Darko ‘warns'

Gabby Otchere-Darko is a leading member of the NPP Gabby Otchere-Darko is a leading member of the NPP

• Gabby Otchere-Darko has jumped to the defense of government and Sir David Adjaye

• He says David Adjaye deserves plaudits and not condemnation from Ghanaians

• David Adjaye, according to Gabby designed the district hospitals in the Agenda 111 initiative

Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, a cousin to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and a leading member of the New Patriotic Party has issued an explanatory response to critics of Ghanaian architect, Sir David Adjaye of Adjaye Associates.

Sir David Adjaye has been vilified by the members of the Ghana Institute of Architects and the National Democratic Congress for enjoying a monopoly in the area of government infrastructure designs.

His latest works on Agenda 111 health facilities led to an uproar from the Ghana Institute of Architects over what they believe to be a breach in the procurement process.

In a Facebook post, Gabby Otchere-Darko first sought to establish that Adjaye Associates is a Ghanaian firm that holds operations in the country.

He then proceeded to highlight the firm’s role in the Agenda 111 initiative, explaining that Adjaye Associates only designed one district hospital which will provide the blueprint for the construction of all district hospitals.

‘So why this big negative focus on one of the world’s most celebrated starchitects, David Adjaye? He is Ghanaian and his firm, Adjaye Associates, is Ghanaian, with offices also in London and New York. He has not been engaged to design 101 or 111 hospitals. No! He designed just one and did a damn good job of it; which should give us a bargain of “buy 1 get 1 free!”

“He was legally contracted as lead architect to design one standard district hospital and his task was to do so at a record low price with significant use of local materials, to be environmentally friendly and to do all this at a high-quality standard. This is what we are paying for.

“Government first procured the services of Hospital Infrastructure Group Ltd, owned by the highly respected Kwabena Nyarko, former Vice President of GREDA, to coordinate the single largest health infrastructure project ever commissioned in Ghana, the Agenda 111 project, working closely with the Ministry of Health.

“HIG engaged the services of some key architects, engineers, surveyors, etc, to deliver on this important mandate. HIG’s job is to let all the district hospitals be designed and built by Ghanaians, using as much as possible local materials, and to do so at a cost far lower than we are used to paying.

“David Adjaye’s Adjaye Associates was just one of such reputable firms used. His specific design job was to come out with a standard design for a district hospital. He has delivered a world-class standard design and at $17 million per hospital. A district hospital normally costs between $30-35 million, built and fitted. So the ones under Agenda 111 is essential: ‘Buy 1 Get 1 Free!’” parts of his epistle read.

Gabby Otchere-Darko also highlighted the difference between the design by Adjaye Associates and other designs, expressing that his design is a factor in what he contends to be relatively low-cost of the hospitals.

He boasted that Sir David Adjaye’s design could serve as the model hospital design on the continent.

“So what has been the crime of Sir David? His design does not use the antiquated materials of cement block and mortar for the hospitals. It is an interlocking earth bricks system, using local laterite from the respective regions. This has helped to bring down the cost. It also means, building with speed. He is using locally insulated roofing sheets. His design allows for natural ventilation. It shows how we can build better, cheaper and relying more on locally produced materials.

‘Mark this down. I foresee other African countries modelling their hospitals and schools from the designs, technology, materials and engineering that have gone into Agenda 111. We are doing something that, in my view, will set the standards for providing healthcare facilities for Africa and beyond. For me, we have something to be proud of and let’s help it succeed. We may or may not celebrate the team making it happen, but let us not malign them. It can be demoralizing” he said.

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