After the task of drafting the first constitution and by-laws of the Institute had been assigned to me as a one-man subcommittee, I discussed with the late T. S. Clerk, our first President, and asked him respectfully if he would be pleased to undertake that assignment in view of his seniority, wonderful store of experience, enthusiasm, and the fact that a majority of the Architects in the country were R.I.B.A.S. I was so pleased that he readily agreed, and did a magnificent job of it. It was indeed a positive strategy to demonstrate the fairness, sincerity and objectivity in establishing the foundation for a rapprochement between the G.I.A. and the Ghana Society of Architects. Copies of it was accordingly distributed to members for their study and comments before our second meeting when they were discussed, approved, and adopted accordingly.
ELECTION OF THE FIRST OFFICERS FOR 1962
At the subsequent meeting after the approval and adoption of the Constitution and By-laws the Primal Administration was elected as follows:
- President: T. S. Clerk
- Vice President: P. N. K. Turkson
- Treasurer: Vik Adegbite
- Secretary: 0. T. Agyeman
- Member: J. S. K. Frimpong
- Member: Prof. John Owusu-Addo
Other members were:
- E. K. Asuako
- A. K. Amartey
- E. Kingsley Osei
The minutes of this historic meeting were eloquently reproduced in the inaugural speech of the first president of the G.l.A. at the inauguration of the G.l.A., at the University of Ghana, Legon, at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, December 11, 1964, in the Ghana Institute of Architects Newsletter, Vol. 1, No. 1, date of April 1970 and edited by K.G. Kyei.
The Name Of The G.I.A. And The Election Of A Patron
The name was first intended to be the “Ghanaian Institute of Architects,” but when we wrote to the Flagstaff House to seek the permission of the Head of State, the late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, to make him Patron under that name, we were advised to reconsider our proposal for a name and to see how (1) the name “Ghana Institute of Architects” would appeal to us since the former name had restrictive implications, and since Architecture, the Sciences, Technology, Music, Poetry, Love, etc., had no, and knew no bounds. Accordingly, we took the advice, and went along with the name, “The Ghana Institute of Architects,” and (2) In the same letter as mentioned above, we were advised that since the Head of State was virtually the Hon. Patron of all professional bodies, there was no need for us to request him to be our Patron as such. This advice also we graciously accepted.
After the founding of the G.I.A. on November 9, 1962, we spread the news, made contact with Ghana Society of Architects, and attempted to have communication to explain what it was all about. It has to be explained here that the action to found the G.l.A. was not parochial, but a fulfillment of a need to meet a necessary requirement in the attainment of Independence and a Republican Constitution which needed a body of Architects that could really be a part of the aspirations of the country in the field of Architecture and the physical nation building.
As the first president of the G.I.A. mentioned in his inaugural speech, the main question asked by the Ghana Society of Architects was “Why the Ghana Institute of Architects?” This sparked-off all sorts of conclusions: inter alia (a) “Victor is being parochial”; (b) some called it “Victor’ s Institute,” (c) others doubted our capability and so on, just to thwart our humble attempts for an intended sincere input in the national reconstruction.
In planning the inauguration we got Prof. J. Owusu-Addo and O.T. Agyeman to do everything possible and expedient to mediate between the Ghana Society of Architects and the G.LA. for a merger, while Mr. Kojo Kyei was assigned the task of establishing communication with the students of KNUST for their input by way of participation. All of these attempts unfortunately proved futile, but we went ahead and inaugurated the C.I.A. without the input of the Ghana Society of Architects, and the student body of the Faculty of Architecture of KNUST.
The inauguration of the G.l.A. came off on the 11th of December 1964 as planned at the Lecture Theatre Conmonwealth Hall, University of Ghana, Legon, at 8:30 p.m. The program was as follows:
Chairman: E. K. Bensah, M.P., Minister of Works and Housing
Supporters: Nana Kobina Nketia IV, Director, Institute of Art and Culture
Dr. R. P. Baffuor, Vice Chancellor KNUST.
- Y. Odoi, Managing Director, GNCC
8:30 P.M. 1. Guests and members to be seated
- Introduction of Chairman and his supporters by 0.T. Agyeman, A.G.I.A., Secretary
- Address by T. S. Clerk, F.G.l.A., President
- Inaugural Address by E. K. Bensah, M.P., Minister of Works and Housing
- Honorary Awards by T. S. Clerk, F.G.I.A.
- Vote of Thanks by P. N. K. Turkson, F.G.I.A., Vice President
9:30 P.M. Cocktails and Dance
Music by The Ghana Police Band
Masters of Ceremony: Vik Adegbite., F.G.I.A.,Treasurer Kojo Kyei, A.G.I.A.
1:00 A.M. Function Closes I must say that we indeed regretted the inability of the members of the Ghana Society of Architects and the architectural student body of the KNUST to participate in this historic occasion in the life of the G.I.A., at which positive signs of success started to glitter to everyone’s surprise. Enthusiasm, unanimity, wellwishes, amity, joy, just name them, all abound In great measure.
Honorary awards were made to the following:
(a) E. K. Bensah, F.G.l.A.
(b) Dr. R. P. Baffuor, F.G.l.A.
(c) L. K. Apaloo, F.G.l.A
(d) G. Y. Odoi, F.G.I.A.
Among the above mentioned it was only G. Y. Odoi, who wrote to us to accept his award.
In his address, E. K, Bensah, the Minister of Works and Housing extorted the G.I.A. to live up to the lofty ideals of its goals and objectives, and assured us of the support of his Ministry in securing a legal backing for our activities and practices by way of an Act of Parliament.
MERGER WITH THE GHANA SOCIETY OF ARCHITECTS
Through the effective skill of mediation of Mr. 0. T. Agyeman and Prof. J. Owusu Addo, the Ghana Institute of Architects merged with the Ghana Society of Architects in 1965, membership and all their funds, thus this inscription on our membership and rank certificates “Founded in the Year of our Lord 1962, and merged with Ghana Society of Architects in the Year of Our Lord 1965, a body politic and corporate for the advancement of Architecture, and for the promoting and facilitating the equipment of knowledge of the various Arts and Sciences connected thereafter.”
- A solid Ghana Institute of Architects
- An Architects Registration Council
- An Architects Decree 1969 NLCD 357
- The restructuring of the Consulting Branch of the GNCC (now PWD) to be headed by a Chief Consultant under whom came the Chief Architect in 1966 after the completion of the State House Improvements Project (Job 600). It became clear that the Engineerin-Chief had no input whatsoever in that said project and all the other Architectural projects the department had undertaken, because his expertise was not architecture and so he was not a necessary resource that the Chief Architect could work with. It was not only wrong, archaic and most unfair to assign the responsibilities of heading the Architectural Branch by an unqualified person. The Engineer-inChief should head only the Engineering Department while the Architect-in Chief or the Architectural Chief Consultant heads the Architecture Department. The current state of affair just does not work.
- The first to be promoted to that rank was Vik Adegbite. The logical constant of this wisdom must be sustained and preserved. Any Department of Architecture to realize its full potential must of necessity have its complement of the Office of Chief Consultant or Architect-in Chief which is very highly recommended.
- As usual, the job description of the Chief Architect or Architect-in-Chief should include working closely with, and advising the President on Architectural Projects and undertaking and executing them with worldclass excellence.
- A professional architectural degree program at KNUST
- Increased turnout of Architects at KNUST per annum
- The establishment of an Office of City Architect at the Accra City Council Works Department. That office was first held by Bogdan Wnetrzewyski, a former Architect of the GNCC.
- More people are using the services of Architects now than fifty years ago.
- The noble field of Architecture is now a very attractive career. As they say, “as we build, let us build forever so that when succeeding generations look-up on our work they will say, see this is what our fathers did for us”.
With the passage of time, it appears mistrusts, and doubts about the founding of the G.l.A. seem to be fading away, and the Institute has been making big strides and growing from strength to strength in unity by the Grace of God. It seems that we have indeed been proven right that our decision and action in taking the initiative to found a locally anchored body of Architects has indeed not been parochial, irrational, selfish, narrow or out of context. Just taking a cursory look at the trend and curve of our graph of membership over the past decade or so, one would easily observe that our non-Ghananian membership curve has almost dropped to zero, and that the stability and growth of the Institute has squarely devolved on Ghananian Architects, as was envisioned.
We indeed owe a debt of gratitude to the Good Lord above for the wisdom and foresight he gave us to found a locally anchored architectural body which attempts to meet the Architectural needs of the country; a body which does not only enjoy the full confidence and legal backing of Ghana, but also occupies its rightful place in the ranks of the International Union of Architects, the Commonwealth Association of Architects, and the Architectural world at large.
Our sincere thanks to all those who directly and indirectly urged us along in this humble and positive contribution to the Architectural Profession and Education in Ghana, in particular, and the world in general.
A Happy Golden Anniversary. May We Have Many Many More Returns! GOD BLESS US ALL!
Victor A. Adegbite Washington, DC, USA August 20, 2012