Implementation of Sustainable Adaptation; A Case Study of Balme Library, Legon


In July 2018, as part of an Architecture and Urbanism Writing Workshop in Accra, I explored the Balme Library at the University of Ghana with Emmanuel Owusu Banahene (an MPhil student at KNUST), Victoria Okoye (an Architecture PhD student from University of Sheffield), and Benedict Acheampong (an undergraduate student studying Architecture at KNUST). This was my first time visiting this library, and it opened me to a new learning experience.

In this article, I consider adaptation as changes to space or building to fit the current needs and usage of its users, using the University of Ghana’s Balme Library as an example. The Balme Library is an example of a structure whose local adaptations of structure respond to societal, economic and environmental changes. Adaptation of buildings to users and uses is emerging as one of the primary requirements in sustaining the performance and lives of buildings.

Historical background of the Balme Library

The Balme Library is the main library of the University of Ghana and centrally located in the university campus. It is a neo-classical masterpiece building with high adaptability and named after the first Principal of University of Ghana, David Mowbray Balme. From the library, I could see the academic area, student’s residences, and the main avenue among others. The location of the library makes it accessible from all directions. Geographically, it is located on latitude 5°39’ 7.054 “N and longitude 0°11′ 13.444″E with an overall elevation of 1