Oguaa Football for Hope Centre

About the Campaign:
“20 Centres for 2010” is the Official Campaign of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. Its aim is to raise funds to create twenty Football for Hope Centres for public health, education and football across Africa. The centres will address local social challenges in disadvantaged areas and improve education and health services for young people. The Football for Hope Centre in Khayelitsha is the first of the 20 Football for Hope Centres in Africa. Read more about The Football for Hope Campaign

Location: Cape Coast, Ghana
Host organisation: Play Soccer Ghana
Mission: To promote the health and social development of children and youth through community-based activities, with the sport of soccer serving as the foundation of the programme.Target population: Girls and boys ages 7-20 years
Football-based programmes since: 2001
Network Member since: 2002

About the center host:
PLAY SOCCER is a network of nationally established nonprofit organisations (PLAY SOCCER Cameroon, Ghana, Malawi, Senegal, Zambia and South Africa) affiliated under PLAY SOCCER International, the umbrella organisationin the USA. The PLAY SOCCER goal is sustainable grassroot development through sport. Its year-round 48 week holistic curriculum teaches health and social life skills and football through weekly activity-based educational sessions. The programmebegins with young children to encourage early childhood development and lifelong learning. Local youth are trained as volunteer instructors, building their leadership and skills, maximizing volunteerism and community service as pillars of the organisation. The programmeis recreational, open to all, and geared to mass participation in the most disadvantaged communities.PLAY SOCCER also provides international leadership for the annual Global Peace Games for Children and Youth and collaborates on other activities and communications exchange to encourage cultural understanding, global friendship and gender equality. In regions where access to organized recreational sports is scarce for children, PLAY SOCCER offers communities an opportunity to develop themselves through football and education.

Design Statement:
Situated on the Gulf coast 100miles west of Ghana’s capital Accra, the historic town of Cape Coast is the site of the nation’s first secondary school, Mfantsipim Secondary School. The school donated a site on the school land to build Ghana’s Football for Hope centre for FIFA ’20 centres for 2010’ campaign. The Cape Coast Centre design has been driven by two major factors, the programmatic requirements of the centre hosts, and the need to provide a solution to the tropical environment, which the centre is to operate within. In Cape Coast the climate will vary from extremely hot and dry to very heavy rainfall throughout the year.

On the site a large Ceiba Pentandra tree dominates the centre of the site is home to a family of vultures and a variety of other indigenous wildlife. In addition to its use as a haven for local wildlife the tree also provides the only naturally shaded spot on site. With a height of 25m and a span of 40m we had the idea to shade the entire building beneath its branches to offer considerable protection to the building and the
users from the extreme climate.The concept for the building centered on using the shade of the tree, this developed into wrapping the building and terraces around the tree girth until we finally agreed to position the building beside the tree. With this arrangement the area in front of the building beneath the tree then becomes a natural spectator’s area when the pitch is in use.When visiting the community to talk to the local people both informally and in organized meetings it was clear that the community, Play Soccer Ghana & Football for Hope had the same aspiration for the Centre, that it would be accessible to everyone. This was considered vital to the success of the centre. In order to achieve this we needed to ensure that the architecture and site treatment was ‘inviting’ the community to use the building. We used a number of design techniques to emphasize the inclusive nature of the Centre. We proposed that a boundary wall would not build around the site or the building and that a simple path access from the main edge of the site would link it with an existing path that leads up to the school situated on higher ground beside the site. The Centre thus becomes a meeting place where the two paths meets, the landscaped area around the tree then acts as a gathering space. The main access into the building is via a wide timber steps beneath the tree. The intention of the generous width of the entrance opening within the bamboo screen wall is to invite people into the building; this opening is intended to be left open when the building is in use.

Internally the programmatic requirements led us to divide the building into two parts, the teaching room /changing rooms on one side and a large IT/ room on the other. we introduced a general space between the teaching room and the computer room. The rooms open up directly onto the space, which acts as a breakout space for the both rooms. In addition this flexible space can also be used as a forum for larger teaching groups, community gatherings or social functions. To further shade the rooms in the building from direct sunlight and to create more individual work space outside the formal teaching and IT rooms that we formed a continuous walkway around the building and placed a 2nd skin around the perimeter.The skin is composed of panels of vertical bamboo shoots that allow the natural light and breeze to permeate through.

Sustainability was one of the principle directives of the project brief so from initial conception through to detailed design we followed passive design principles and adopted a mixed building material palette of indigenous, renewable and reclaimed components. The use of passive design systems allowed us to negate the need for expensive cooling systems and minimize the running costs of electric and water as well reducing the effects of the frequent blackout and interrupted water supply in the area. Our concern over the continuously fluctuating price of imported materials such as concrete, steel and the high cost and quality of treated timber lead us to consider reclaimed scaffolding and donated shipping containers for the structural elements. The use of local materials and technology such as bamboo and mud block enabled us to site the building within its natural and cultural context and also ensured that construction and future maintenance could be undertaken by the local workforce.The building is set half a meter off the ground and the main structural elements,recycled shipping containers, are placed on pad footings composed of reclaimed oil barrels filled with concrete. This basic yet highly effective technology meant we could resolve a couple of design issues without resorting to expensive foundations. Firstly it allowed us to set the building all on one level under the tree where the gradient is almost three quarters of a meter higher on one side, Secondly it allowed us to minimize the risk of flooding the building during heavy rainfall. Furthermore by raising the building off the ground, an air gap is created, this prevents the building from absorbing heat directly from the ground.

The Cape Coast Centre is conceived as a place where the community will gather together, whether to take part in the programs and activities organized by Play Soccer Ghana or to join together informally or through passing. Architecturally this is what we have wanted to create, a building that celebrates the community and the location in which it sits.

Key development points:

    – Play Soccer currently hiring a Country Director in Ghana
    – Drawing up job description for Centre Manager
    – Proceeding with business plan development.

Back to Football for Hope program overview

Frontline/The World June 2008