The Vanderpuije’s Family House in Ussher Town was built by the Dutch in the 18th century. It has elements of clay, wood and cement in its architectural structure According to one of sons of the house it was used actively during the colonial period and the smaller rooms under the stairs have been used as cells where people were kept temporarily to be later transported as slaves. Unlike many houses around, this house has less people living in it as many of the family members live in different places but return yearly for Homowo.
Introduction to the topic of SPACE /houses in Ga Mashie
It is difficult to navigate through Ga Mashie as the houses and alleys blend into one another and you are not quite sure what is public road what is living area /kitchen. However, we came to understand that the chaos we experienced is a deliberate and conscious feature of the architecture that originates from a historical period of insecurity where slave capture and warfare was common.
In addition to the confusing architecture, space is an issue in this area. The population of Ga Mashie has continued to expand, but no new houses have been built. The community is very densely populated. Walking around Ga Mashie many questions come to mind, such as: How do so many people live together in such a small space? Is the space limitation a reason to move the kitchen outside?
Through the drawing of some different structures of houses present in Ga Mashie we try to better understand the allocation and arrangement of space.
We looked at some different kinds of house structures. The newer houses are single storey houses (like the Abbeys’ and Kotei’s family homes). Many of this type of houses were built after some series of earthquakes. The colonial houses tend to be two storey buildings (like the Vanderpuijes’ house).
We notice that space is used for many different purposes. An alley can also be a living room and a school and a bedroom and a kitchen at the same time (but during different times of the day).