How the construction of a research centre in northern Ghana is negotiating ecological, economical, technical and cultural needs

Project Title: Mole Research Centre

Location: Lovi, Ghana

Author: Alessandro Masoni

Transportation of cement bags on site – Mole Research Centre, Alessandro Masoni

The requested scope of work was to build a completely off-grid Research Centre in Lovi, a ranger post about thirty kilometres from the entrance of Mole National Park, in the North of Ghana. A facility where scientists could isolate to conduct their researches in the area with the higher biodiversity of the region, equipped with all the amenities to live and work, although marked by the greatest simplicity.

The integration of the building with the natural environment has been the greatest concern for everybody involved in the project. It meant on one side to be profoundly attentive and sensitive to the impact it would have had on the natural environment, but on the other side it meant also to try to limit the burden of an environment where living for long periods can be really challenging.

The project strictly complied with the regulations of “Design Standards for Tourism and Other Facilities in Protected Areas in Ghana”, but also tried to improve them, taking carefully into account any indication coming from the various stakeholders and adding very important and useful information and suggestions grabbed from the local constructions.

Sustainability was the primal concept, intended in its wider holistic meaning and faced with the higher degree of common sense and pertinence aiming to merge ecological, economical, technical and cultural needs in the best possible compromise and achieve the best possible result.

Building in Lovi involved a temporary lapse of civilisation every now and again, a disconnection from the usual world that re-established a deep connection with that very nature towards which the majority of people are completely unprepared for these days. Our society is often unable to deal with the immense power of nature and its inevitable circular faith that is able to tolerate, absorb and regenerate, relativising any creative (or destructive) action to a mere impermanent accident.

Text provided by the author(s).