Kantamanto Market Burns Down Again and the Aga Khan Award

On Sunday, we were reached by the news that the Kantamanto Market in central Accra was on fire. Horrible pictures of the event on CitiFMonline. Luckily the day had just started and no casualties were reported. While politicians come and walk the now ashen site, market women cry out in grief over lost livelihoods and journalists try to count the number of market fires we have had in recent years,  the opportunity here is to think of how we want to build and maintain a market.

I suggest we take a look at Aga Khan Architecture Awards (AKAA) for market construction. Amazing, beautiful and functional markets have been built before!

Central Market in Koudougou, Burkina Faso


“Koudougou’s central market combines a covered hall with space for 624 stalls with a further 125 buildings containing 1’195 shop units, the vast majority of them small spaces of only 6.20 square metres. By virtue of its size, the project provided an important training ground for local masons. The market buildings are made almost exclusively of a local material – compressed earth blocks – using traditional Nubian techniques of arch and vault construction. Such self-sufficiency was deemed particularly desirable in light of the increasing costs of imported materials.”



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All pics from AKAA. Read more about the Central Market here

What I love about this market, apart from it being built by fireproof materials, is the beauty and light…Can we not build things that are pleasing to the eye and built to last?

Last week, the finalists for the 2013 Aga Khan Architecture Award  were released.

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1 Comment

  1. Great idea and an opportune time. I bet nobody listens to this. After a while, the slum will reappear or in its place a new high-rise. But such architecture could be employed in other markets. But who will, when somebody has already eyed that market for burning if/when a government comes to power and appoints him/her into a position of power (from which they can sell the land under the market?