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Owusu wins Ghana regeneration work

Elsie Owusu Architects has won planning permission for a 40ha regeneration project in Accra, Ghana's capital city.

Owusu, a founder of Britain's Society of Black Architects who has just won an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours, said the mixed-use scheme for offices and an IT hub, shops and residential areas was given the go-ahead last week and is due to start on site in 2004.

The scheme - on Independence Avenue - will comprise a cluster of six complexes, each one around gardens and courtyards with trees. About a third of the site will become parkland.

The project forms part of a vast regeneration of Accra, led by Elsie Owusu Architects and Knak Design. The Richard Rogers Partnership is masterplanning the scheme and the team includes Llewelyn-Davies.

Ghana's president, John Kufuor, launched the competition in 2001, originally for a palace (AJ 7.2.03). However, Owusu's firm won the competition by convincing the president that Accra needed massive regeneration, which reports put at about £500 million of work.

This will be brought about by a series of 'catalytic projects', Owusu said. The team is also experimenting with quick-build methods for medical buildings, such as a 'telemedicine' centre made of freight containers.

A tram system costing more than £100 million is also proposed and the capital's seafront is set for a major clean-up.

Work is due to finish in 2007, the 50th anniversary of Ghana's independence and the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery.

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