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Arup breaks ground on new hotel and residential development in airport city in Accra

Arup is providing full multidisciplinary services for a new 15-storey mixed-use development in Airport City in Accra, Ghana. It will include 214-room Pullman-branded hotel and 150-serviced residential apartments, as well as a conference centre and is a project of many firsts in Ghana.

Arup has been working with Inter-Afrique Properties and Paragon since 2015 to develop the initial concept, and then with Accor Hotels, the company behind the Pullman brand of premium hotels for business and leisure. An early works contractor has been appointed and ground has been broken, and negotiations are underway with a major international contractor for the design and construction of the building.

The design team includes Paragon Group (architecture), DIAD (interior design) and Crane Construction Consultants (quantity surveyors). Diagonal Projects is responsible for project management, while Solid Green Consulting is handling the sustainability consulting.

The development is set for completion in January 2021 and operations will begin in the same year. Adam Lancaster, Associate at Arup and Engineering Design Manager on the project, notes that this will be the first Pullman hotel in Ghana, and is one of the largest private construction projects currently underway in the country.

Richard Lawson, Associate Director at Arup and Project Director, says that Arup brought a multidisciplinary design team to the project, offering all the engineering services the client required, including civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, fire, facades and wet services engineering. “This is unusual in South Africa but is particularly advantageous in a foreign market as it gives the client a single point of contact.”

“We were also able to draw on a depth of expertise in designing hotels. Having worked with many hotel operators previously, we were able to bring a thorough understanding of their requirements.” Lancaster adds.

Lawson says that the building’s distinctive white and black cladding is an interesting technical aspect. The product is likely to be Dekton – an artificial stone product – and if that’s the case, it will be the first use in Ghana. 

The building will also be certified under two sustainability systems – Greenstar SA, via the Ghana Green Building Council, and Edge, via IFC. It will be the first green-rated hotel in the country, and one of a handful of green-rated developments. 

Lawson notes that the development also needed to take various site and infrastructure constraints into account. “For example, given the limited sewer capacity in the locality, we had to develop solutions to limit our building’s demand. By introducing greywater systems we not only reduced demand on the sewers, but also reduced potable water demand improving the buildings green credentials.”

Lancaster adds that the building also needs to be designed to cope with unreliable power supply and its seismically active location.

Arup also needed to work within Accor’s Pullman brand guidelines, while adapting these for the Ghanaian climate and environment.

“Our task was to design an exceptional product within a set of often challenging constraints and I’m proud that we have delivered on that,” concludes Lawson.