- Project Name
- Asamoah's Eden
- Roodza Pierrelus
- Project Types
- Project Scope
- New Construction
- Project Status
- On the Boards/In Progress
This project was featured in the October 2021 issue of ARCHITECT.
When Tuskegee University architecture student Roodza Pierrelus, AIAS, NOMAS, designed Asamoah’s Eden as part of her third-year design studio, led by professor Amma Asamoah, she drew inspiration from two Adinkra (Ghanaian) symbols: mate masie, which translates to “what I hear I keep,” and nea onnim no sua a, ohu, or “he who does not know, can know from learning.” The resulting multifamily proposal offers a solution for cultural preservation and rediscovery.
Asamoah had been named the current steward of a plot of land in Ghana by her father on his deathbed in February 2018. She incorporated that site into her studio theme, tasking her students to explore the land’s potential using pictures that she had taken during her visit at the end of 2019. Her design brief asked students to plan a three-story condominium for U.S. residents of Ghanaian heritage who are returning to the country to live and experience its culture again.
Pierrelus, now a fifth-year student minoring in historic preservation at the university, located in Tuskegee, Ala., believes that cultural preservation—a component of historic preservation—is often neglected. “My goal was to take some significant aspects of the Ghanaian culture and add them to my project,” she says. For example, she drew inspiration from the Kente cloth, which is handmade in Ghana using a wooden machine, also made by hand, to create detailed patterns and colors on her building design. “I wanted to find a way to represent [the culture], while also making it architectural and practical,” she says.
Pierrelus herself grew up in Haiti and connects the artistry of building by hand through her experience of learning to sew from her grandmother. Though Pierrelus completed her studio project in the spring 2020, the real-site project in Ghana is awaiting grants to move forward.