Prof. Arc. John Owusu Addo. Courtesy Mobius Architects

Professor Arc. John Owusu Addo, affectionately called ‘Prof.’, is one of the last remaining modernist architects of Ghana. At 94 years old, Owusu Addo is as sharp and witty as ever and his long-standing legacy covers the breadth of some of the country's most iconic buildings. In the circles of architectural education, Owusu Addo is credited as the first native and black head of department of the architecture department at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). The pinnacle of his legacy is the breadth of knowledge and firsthand experience of the development of modern architecture in Ghana, which predates the colonial period through contemporary times and the lessons we can draw from them as Africans in today's rapidly globalizing world. To honor him, we journey through his life and works.

His beginnings were a humble one, born on May 30, 1928 in the rural village of Akwadum in Ghana. His family, the royal Apempoa family, migrated from the Ashanti region in 1875, following a dispute with the Ashanti king. At the time, Akwadum was a beautiful, serene farming village near Koforidua, the capital of the eastern region of Ghana. The family had kept their traditional profession as cocoa farmers and also cultivated subsistence crops, which included cassava and yams. Owusu Addo muses that in 1934, one could not practice sustainability more than in the villages.