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The Impact of Globalization on Local Architecture in Ghana

Summary of Article by George W.K Intsiful, 2008 / Edited by Peter Herrle & Erik Wegerhoff

From the fifteenth century when the first Europeans arrived on the West African coast, precisely at modern day Elmina, Ghana’s architectural development has paralleled the developments of globalization. The abandonment of local practices and the adoption of European values is explicit today in the fact that the budgets of urban centers relay on external donations used to fund material and finishes imported from overseas. Insiful offers an oppositional viewpoint to the often-destructive model of globalization imposed by the West, demonstrating how the phenomenon has postponed the progress of development. Analyzing the impact of global forces on architecture in Ghana, the essay grounds some of the key conceptual and methodological complexities and contradictions inherent in the duality of tradition and modernity. Opening up critical observations of human settlements as spaces of organized human activity, and necessary preconditions of all social and economic development, the essay states the need for an inculcation of traditions into architecture and building forms.