First Look: David Adjaye’s Design for the National Cathedral of Ghana

Adjaye Associates, led by British Ghanaian architect Sir David Adjaye, last month unveiled the designs for a new National Cathedral of Ghana, a vast structure combining worship, education and cultural spaces. We take a look at the design

Unveiled as part of a ceremony marking Ghana’s 61st year as an independent nation, Adjaye Associates’ design for the National Cathedral of Ghana in Accra is a bold but highly functional structure, coalescing multiple needs and use cases.

Serving as a ceremonial landmark and open to all faiths, it will sit within a 14-acre site adjacent to Osu Cemetary, housing newly landscaped gardens. Drawing from both Christian symbolism and Ghanaian culture, it is designed to reflect the unification of the West African region and the sense of collective kinship.

The vast complex will include a 5,000-seat auditorium spanning two levels, a number of chapels, a baptistery and multi-use spaces.  The structure will also include a music school and choir rehearsal space as well as an art gallery, ship and the first Bible Museum and Documentation Centre in Africa. Inside, the interiors, including religious features and furnishings, will be created in collaboration with some of the leading Ghanaian and African artists.

“The Cathedral will address the missing link in our nation’s architecture by providing a Church of national purpose,” said Ghanaian President Akufo-Addo. “It will be an inter-denominational house of worship and prayer, as well as serve as the venue for formal state occasions of a religious nature, such as presidential inaugurations, state funerals and national thanksgiving services.”

“It is an immense honour to be granted the opportunity to contribute something of this scale and import to my home country,” said Sir David Adjaye. “I have sought to craft a building that not only understands its landscape but one that will be unique to Accra and the Ghanaian Nation.”