Dear Sir, Commentary as Past President of G.I.A

commentary

With reference to your letter dated 6th August 2012 on the above mentioned subject, my comments on reminiscing on my experience as Past President of Ghana Institute of Architects are as follows:

The GIA was formed in May 1962 and with the time was largely run by British and European architects with a minority of Ghanaian Architects. The British Architects frustrated and stifled the Ghanaian counterparts on their Professional Practice Examination making very few black Architects eligible for induction into the GIA. This registered the displeasure of the then young Ghanaian Architects.

According to the Europeans, they did not believe black Architects could be successful especially the locally trained Architects. The black Architects affront led by D. S. KpodoTay in their bid to break this myth formed the Space Club with the intent of taking over the GIA and the running of its affairs from the Europeans which they succeeded in doing.

Arc. Ken Ampratwum, Arc. Akakpo led by Arc. D. S. Kpodo-Tay confronted Arc. Kenneth Scott at his residence on the affairs of the Institute for the black Architects to run it was achieved at the risk of their lives in that Kenneth Scott threatened to shoot the trio. The three absconded on seeing Kenneth Scott approaching with a pistol.

in the residence of the sitting President of the Institute. On the grounds of being autonomous, Arc. Kpodo-Tay rented from the late Mr Duncan Williams who is the father of Archbishop Nicholas Duncan Williams, the founder and general overseer of Action Chapel International, his house and housed the offices of the GIA at Ring Road Estate in Accra, opposite the Police Headquarters.

Arc. Kpodo-Tay volunteered to train and prepare young Architects and also in preparation for the PPE and admission as members of the GIA.

Our first Administrator of the Institute then was Mr Joe Laryea a seasoned and retired civil servant. With time, it deemed befitting the ARC/GIA be housed in a Government bungalow around the Ridge roundabout specifically the present 3rd Ninth Ridge property.

Arc. D. S. Kpodo-Tay then president of the GIA used his Space Club secretary Arc. Ken Ampratwum who was then the Minister of Works and Housing and the late Arc. Dawson who run and oversaw the affairs of the management, maintenance and allocation of Government bungalow to secure the 3rd Ninth Ridge property which currently houses the ARC/GIA.

Arc. D. S. Kpodo-Tay made his son Amen Divine KpodoTay who was then a student in secondary school, and now an Architect with Mr Bob Adams, a GIA office staff using Arc. D. S. Kpodo-Tay Pick-up to cart every item from the Ring Road to 3rd Ninth Ridge.

Prior to the relocation of the ARC/GIA to 3rd Ninth Ridge, the leadership of the ARC/GIA comprising Arc. D. S. Kpodo-Tay as President of the GIA, Arc. Attoh as the Vice President and Arc. Harold Yartey as Secretary of the GIA respectively and being in sympathy with the student leadership in Country in 1979 accepted a request from the then Professional body for the students to use the Ringway state office of the GIA to hold meetings to make Contribution and Development and Study of Architecture known their grievances to the then Government to improve conditions for University and other tertiary students in the country.

The then Government on noticing this punished Arc. Kpodo-Tay and Arc. Harold Yartey. Arc. D. S. Kpodo-Tay’s punishment was that his payment from Government Projects was withheld for ten years. Arc. Harold Yartey, then the secretary and now the current Chairman for the ARC was detained at the Nima Police Station for ten months. Arc. Attoh, the Vice President escaped to Canada where he has been since then.

 

Contribution and Development and Study of Architecture

On attending an Architect’s Confrence in Nigeria as President of the GIA, the Nigerian Architects were using the prefix Architect (Arc) to their names. On his return, proposed the prefix be added to the names of Architect’s on an induction into the GIA which had remained till date.

Arc. Kpodo-Tay has trained and nurtured several Architects including their preparation for the Professional Practice Examination; some of the Architects are Arc. Ken Ampratwum, Arc. Ralph Southerland, Arc. Bernard Sam, Arc. Coleman, Arc. Theresa Yankah, Arc.Sena Gidigasu, Arc. Ewusi Ansah, Arc. J. B. Johnson, Arc. Charles Johnson, Arc. Charles Dawson, Arc. Ernest Hodasi, Arc. Samuel Doku, Arc. Maxwell Clottey, Arc. Alice Osei, Arc. Jeff Andoh, Arc. Benjamin Afagbegee, Arc. Akpene Sallah and Arc. Abena Amoo to mention a few.

Arc. D. S. Kpodo-Tay promoted interest in conservation studies with the Professor Nunoo of GMMB and Prof A. D. C Highland, then a tutor at the Faculty of Architecture KNUST and formed International Council on Monuments And Sites (ICOMOS) in Ghana to promote the preservation and restoration of old buildings of historical importance.

He rose from the position as Secretary on its formation in 3 years to become the National President, a position he holds to date.

During his tenure as Chairman of ICOMOS, he promoted the teaching of Conservation which was introduced into the curriculum of the Architecture course in KNUST.

Prof. Henry Willington through this inspiration attained a Phd in Conservation Studies in Germany.

He supported the proposal of Arc. Olympio who was then with the GMMB and was sent to KNUST to lecture in Conservation Studies. Arc. D. S. Kpodo-Tay organized trips for students of Architecture and interested persons to historical buildings sites and landmarks in and outside Ghana.

 

As president of GIA, Arc. D. S. Kpodo-Tay encouraged fellow Architects to take interest in serving the Institute and by this the following Architects rose through the ranks and at a point in time were President of the GIA. Amongst them are Arc. Akofio Sowah, Arc. Ken Ampratwum, Arc. Emmanuel Oko Adjetey and others.