The Architects Registration Council (ARC) of Ghana, under the jurisdiction of Ghana’s Ministry of Works and Housing, recently celebrated its 23rd Induction Ceremony at the Ghana Shippers' House in Ridge, Accra. The ceremony held on Thursday, October 26, 2023, welcomed fifty-five(55) new architects into the esteemed profession of Architecture, a significant milestone in the life of every architect. The guest speaker for the ceremony was Ghana’s Minister of Works and Housing, the Honorable Francis Asenso-Boakye, and the keynote address was delivered by Ms. Mmamoloko Kubayi, the Minister of Human Settlements of South Africa. The event was attended by families and friends of the inductees alongside dignitaries from South Africa and Ghana, which included Her Excellency Grace Jeanet Mason, the High Commissioner of The Republic of South Africa, board members of the ARC, members of the Council of the Ghana Institute of Architects (GIA), members of parliament, architects, and representatives of the press.
Themed "Upholding the Highest Moral and Ethical Standards as a Built Environment Professional," both Ministers Kubayi and Asenso-Boakye as well as all other speakers emphasized the critical role architects play in addressing the challenges of urbanization, and the need to maintain ethical and sustainable practices in developing built infrastructure.
In her keynote address, Minister Kubayi highlighted the transformative power of architecture in shaping human settlements. She urged architects to be visionaries, problem solvers, and custodians of the built environment, focusing not only on aesthetics but also on inclusivity and environmental responsibility in light of climate change.
Quoting from Agenda 63 of the Africa Union, Kubayi noted that by 2063, Africa will be predominantly urban with two-thirds of the continent’s projected population of 2.5 billion people living in urban centers. Aside from the need for basic services and infrastructure, provision of housing for this astronomical number would be critical to avoid the development of slums which carries with it other social ills.
"As architects you are entrusted with the task of creating spaces that promote the wellbeing of individuals and accelerating the implementation of the SDGs and the new urban agenda in the United Nations Decade of Action, and provide a joint vision of partnership and action. Central to this plan is the elimination of slums and informal settlements so that cities can provide livelihood, leaving no one behind and be more sustainable. Because without us ensuring that inclusivity, we will leave our citizens behind," she said.
Minister Kubayi also emphasized the need for collaboration between architects in Ghana and South Africa to exchange ideas which would positively impact the urban centers of both countries since they have similar developmental challenges. She proposed the establishment of a platform for partnerships between architects from Ghana and South Africa. This collaboration could involve joint design competitions, knowledge-sharing workshops, and research partnerships, with the ultimate goal of contributing to sustainable, ethical, and inclusive solutions for both nations and building on "the Pan-Africanist dream of a free and properous Africa".
It is worth noting that there is a growing collaboration between Ghanaian and South African architects, resulting in iconic projects in Ghana, notable among them being the Ecobank Headquarters in Ridge by South African firm ARCArchitects and Ghanaian practice, Mobius Architecture.
Minister Kubayi in her conclusion encouraged the new architects to let their journey "be marked by excellence, integrity and a profound sense of purpose".
Minister Asenso-Boakye opened his speech with a special nod to the newly licensed women architects among the inductees, noting a significant increase in number from 2022 and recounting that his daughter is in the process of applying to study architecture.
Of the 55 qualifying architects inducted during the ceremony, 17 of them were women, forming 30% of the total number of inductees. Over the past 5 years, 250 probationers have become licensed with 68 of them being women, 27% of the total number. This increase is worth celebrating considering the fact that in 2021 Ghana recorded 216 licensed women architects out of the 1,440 registered architects, making up only 15% of the total number of licensed architects in the country.
Although these numbers are low, in the past two decades, there has been a significant increase in the number of female students entering Architecture programs at both the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and Central University (CU), currently the only two tertiary institutions offering Architecture in Ghana. In the recently held 57th Congregation of KNUST’s College of Art and Built Environment, 68 students graduated from the Master of Architecture degree program with 35% of them being women.
Minister Asenso-Boakye stressed that built environment professionals have an important role to play in a rapidly urbanizing country like Ghana where a dire need for infrastructure and housing exists, noting that poor development control systems have given room to the proliferation of illegal structures and developments across the country. It was, therefore, in the interest of the country to have more qualified and registered built environment professionals working concertedly with government and private entities to ensure quality and accessible infrastructure for all. He highlighted the relevance of women architects at the table to ensure holistic design of spaces.
Asenso-Boakye asserted, “The built environment is a reflection of societies or a society’s values and aspirations. It shapes the way we live, work, and interact with our surroundings. It is a testament to our commitment to the wellbeing of our citizens and future generations. Therefore, maintaining the highest moral and ethical standards in the built environment is not just a choice. In fact it is an obligation.”
Buttressing this, he emphasized the role of Municipal and Metropolitan Assemblies (MMDAs) in enforcing development controls and suggested outsourcing the issuance of building permits to professional bodies such as the Architects Registration Council and the Ghana Institute of Architects, to enhance efficiency. He also highlighted the Ministry's efforts in reviewing building regulations to address the rapidly changing built environment. He then called for collaboration among built environment professionals to provide training and development opportunities for MMDA personnel, empowering them to enforce regulations effectively.
Architect Dr. Emmanuel Eyiah-Botwe, the Registrar of the ARC, on his part congratulated the new architects and provided insights into the Council's five-fold mandate. He discussed ongoing initiatives, as well as challenges faced by the profession, and the Council's commitment to maintaining high standards.
According to the ARC Registrar’s report, there are 1270 and 239 registered Architects and Architectural firms respectively in Ghana with only 650 registered architects and 105 architectural firms in good standing and qualified to practice in 2023. Evidently a major concern from these statistics is the insufficiency of registered firms and practicing architects to mentor licensure candidates, an issue that is becoming even more critical with the growing number of graduates from architecture schools across the country and beyond.
The path to licensure is undoubtedly a torturous one, sentiments shared by the Class of 2023 valedictorian, Gabriel Yaw Osei and class representative, Ernest Etoenyo Kudjo Klu in their speeches. Like the architecture educational program, it also demands grit, hard work, and dedication, and following graduation, takes a minimum of two years to complete the architectural experience component alone under the supervision of a registered architectural firm and/or a registered architect with a minimum of five years post-licensure experience, prior to writing the licensure examination. Together, It takes a minimum of 8 years to complete the architectural education and licensure process.
“It has been a really long journey," said Miss Jennifer Sena Dagadu, the second overall best candidate.
The licensure exam is a challenging one and sometimes takes candidates multiple tries to pass. In Ghana, it is offered only once a year. Ultimately, if GIA is able to administer the exams at least twice or thrice a year, it would increase the accessibility for candidates and reduce the wait time in between exams, a move that could potentially aid in the increase of licensed architects in the country.
Firms play a vital role in the grooming of the next generation of architects. This has led some concerned architects to call on the ARC and GIA in the past to review the requirements for the registration of architectural firms to enable more firms, particularly those currently operating outside the ambit of both institutions, to join. The roles of such firms in good standing go beyond this duty to also ensure quality and safety of buildings and construction along with educating the general public on the importance of hiring qualified design professionals for projects.
The practice of architecture requires a broad knowledge of other professions to design spaces that are functional for their programmatic requirements, are safe, aesthetically appealing and make accommodations for future growth and development. The work involves collaborations with allied professionals such as structural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineers, landscape architects, and depending on the complexity of a project, the list of consultants can grow to include specialty consultants. Architectural practice demands keen observation, the ability to listen (to clients) and an understanding of cultures, psychology, materials, science and more, because essentially, an architect is crafting spaces that engage all the senses, emotions and cultural makeup of the end users.
Attaining the architecture licensure is a feat worth celebrating and the induction ceremonies are momentous occasions to usher newly licensed architects into the world where they are faced with opportunities to lead projects with their allied professionals and essentially make a difference in the lives of people and the built environment. The President of the GIA, Arc. Foster Osae Akonnor, in his address to the inductees, pledged the support of the Institute through its professional development programmes and other initiatives to enable them become effective practitioners and maintain the highest standard of the profession.
Goodwill messages were also delivered by the Engineering Council, Ghana Institute of Planners, and the Pharmacy Council. The ceremony closed with presentation of awards to licensees who received distinctions in the exams, with awards sponsored by Italian Systems AluGlass, EPP Books Services, Krane Construction Limited and Atlantic Computers & Electronics Ltd., dealers of Autodesk in Ghana. Award recipients were:
Best Candidate in Paper 1: Arc. Gabriel Yaw Osei
Best Candidate in Paper 2: Arc.Jennifer Sena Dagadu
Overall Best Candidate: Arc. Gabriel Yaw Osei
Third Overall Best Candidate: Arc. Ophelia Akosua Korankyewah Ntiamoah
Second Overall Best Candidate: Arc. Jennifer Sena Dagadu
Design233 congratulates the newly inducted architects and wish them the very best in their professional endeavors! Always remember these words in the address by Arc. Richard Nii Dadey, the Chairperson of the ARC Board, “... you have an ethical responsibility with the power to create and shape a more sustainable future for all humanity.”
Watch the live coverage of the ceremony on the ARC's Facebook page.
List of Inductees:
Gabriel Yaw Osei
Jennifer Sena Dagadu
Ophelia Akosua Korankyewah Ntiamoah
Clara Aba Egyriba Dowuona
Miguel Immanuel Addo-Yobo
Ansbert Monah Abobo
Maxwell Osei Kofi Darteh
Benedicta Ama-Nyama Frempong
Ernest Etoenyo Kudjo Klu
Julian Fritzal Abban
Victor Kwasi Owusu-Sekyere
Kyei Baffour Joseph
Evans Kwame Nkrumah
Diving Nutifafa Sepah
Salisu Mohammed Alhassan
Frederick Gyamfi Okyere
Salamat Bint Ishaque
Charity Asi Atuah
Nana Kwabena Dwamena Wuo-Asare
Nii Oko Kwame Tetteh
Philemon Chamdapaare Adiali
Efua Eyidey Tetteh
Sophia McKeown Debrah
Isaac Osei Kofi Boateng
Paa Kow Aidoo
Cephas Atsu Edinam Agbefu
Ernest John Boto-Ackah Danquah
Samuel Kweku Nyarko Newton
Harold Selorm Amutty
Nana Yaw Ampon Gyasi-Adonten
William Boakye Ankamah
Kingley Ankama Arthur-Badoo
Yaa Serwaa Bandoh
Festus Tengan Kunkpe
Otie Pokua Yankyera
William Annan Jnr.
Lois Naa Kwaale Quartey
Jon Aikins Taylor
Elvis Edem Gadzey
Rachael Appiah Boafo
Jurgen Maximilian Strohmayer