Featured Image Source: David Stanley, Under Creative Commons, https://www.flickr.com/photos/davidstanleytravel/21927550006
The National Theatre of Ghana is the most important cultural centre in Accra and one of the most interesting buildings in Ghana. The triangular building sits between Liberia Road and Independence Avenue in the Victoriaborg district of the city. The building was built in 1992 and was funded by the Chinees government as a gift to Ghana. The two main architects of the project were Taining Cheng and Xianghan Ye though Ghanaian professionals were also involved in the project.
The project is made up of 3 distinct buildings, each housing its own company, the National Dance Company, the National Symphony Orchestra and the National Theatre Players. The construction can be split into 2 distinct parts, the brown stone base and the white forms on top. The building has been likened to a large ship or a bird spreading its wings.
The base is clad with square stone tiles and has an orthogonal form. The entrances and windows are carved out of the base. Making the base seem solid and being the entrance to a cave, rather than a theatre. This also creates an overhang by the entrance so theatregoers are sleided from bad weather.
Above the base, there are three distinct white forms. These forms taper up from the centre, where the three forms meet, towards the outside. The walls of these forms are curved inwards and lifted just above the solid base, with glass in between them, making the base and white form more distinct and reinforcing the differences between them. These forms are covered in small white tiles to give the building its shape and colour.
Each of the three companies have their own entrance. The national theatre players having the largest building and grandest entrance. All the entrances are elevated from the ground level with a staircase. These stairs lead up to the glass entrances and into the building.
The design of the main theatre hall is both modern and functional. There are three seating areas, two of which are elevated to give the most people the best view of the play. The interior design uses many curves, these helping with the acoustic of the room. The interior of the theatre halls uses three main materials. Clay bricks for the two walls next to the main stage, white stucco for the roof and elevated seating areas and wood for the back wall. These soft natural colours mean that the focus is not on the building but on the walls.
The building is a cultural centre and icon for the city and is an influential piece of architecture. The building serves an important purpose in promoting the arts and giving the Ghanian people a place to express their creativity.