The 1946 Town Planning Scheme for Kumasi included provision for a new polytechnic that the Kumasi Education Committee had eagerly requested. The new institution was to be ‘given a commanding position worthy of its importance’1 and a site at the apex of Stewart Avenue in the center of the town was proposed (on the site of the current Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital). Some five years later, the Kumasi College of Technology was finally inaugurated, and the colonial government agreed to provide £4.5m for capital expenditure, and a further £350,000 from the Colonial Development and Welfare fund.2

The Stewart Avenue site was eventually rejected and instead a generous plot was offered by the Asantehene to the east of the town. Harrison, Barnes and Hubbard architects were initially approached to design the masterplan. They were the architects for the University of Ghana in Accra, but declined the Kumasi commission because of the difficult nature of the site ‘whose undulations were considered to make coherent planning a problem’.3

University of Ghana, designed by Harrison, Barnes and Hubbard, photo by Iain Jackson

The more formal set-piece and axial design they proposed in Accra would not readily translate to Kumasi. Maxwell Fry, the architect of Ibadan University, was also approached but the committee decided that ‘with the need for speed, we cannot go on as we have been doing with the Maxwell Fry type’.4