One of 20 football facilities that Architecture for Humanity is designing across Africa for the nonprofit Play Soccer, the Oguaa center is a place for disadvantaged youth to learn soccer, health, and social skills. Doubling as a community center, it is located on the grounds of Mfantsipim, the Gold Coast's first secondary school (and Kofi Annan's alma mater), established in 1876. Designed by Architecture for Humanity fellow David Pound, the Oguaa center has a 2,150-square-foot steel frame made of recycled scaffolding poles. It is clad in bamboo that was harvested, supplied, and installed by the Sabre Charitable Trust, a local nonprofit. Shipping containers raised up on concrete-filled oil drums house classrooms, while timber decks create informal, ventilated spaces around them.
Despite frustrations'slow construction pace, lack of skilled workers, and difficulty sourcing certain materials'Pound described his experience on the project as a rare privilege. 'We got community members to discuss their expectations for the project,' he wrote in an e-mail from Ghana, where he is now designing a school. 'It helped the community develop connections with the project so they could understand that it was not exclusive, but a place where they could all go.'