Gensler partnered with Right to Dream (RTD) — a charity that nurtures the sporting, academic, and personal growth of emerging young talent — on a pro bono project to raise the profile of its Ghanaian campus. Right to Dream, Ghana, is set to become a world-class educational and sporting facility at the center of the academy’s ecosystem. Informed by conversations with staff and students, Gensler created a cohesive campus through a design that elevates the existing facilities, improving infrastructure within and between two distinct sites, to become the best academy of its kind in Africa.
Previously, students made frequent unchaperoned journeys between the two campuses in Ghana. Gensler’s campus design enhances the journey between sites, with diverse zones and landscape elements along a tree-lined walkway with pavilions and outdoor furniture, ensuring safety, openness, and activity while maintaining connection with the surrounding community.
The campus takes a holistic approach to wellbeing, nurturing the physical, social, and mental health of students and staff. Given the campus’ remote location — a two-hour drive from Accra — it was crucial to include state-of-the-art facilities on-site to cater to unique needs, including outstanding new spaces for sports, learning, leisure, and hospitality. A bar by the river for staff, along with new volleyball and tennis courts, create activities for free time, improve overall wellbeing, and help attract and retain top talent, teachers, and trainers. Students and staff also have access to pastoral care and a psychiatrist to address any issues they may be facing whilst away from home.
Prioritising sustainability and resilience, design takes a light-touch approach — for example, existing lush vegetation such as ancient trees of local importance, were mostly retained or replanted to maintain the verdant and shaded campus. Passive design solutions inspired by the existing courtyard design also naturally shade and cross-ventilate spaces to work with the climate. Sustainable, local materials such as recycled glass, will be sourced and nearby tradespeople with skills and local knowledge, will be employed for the construction. The team aimed to minimise new elements, repurposing water channels for irrigation and maximising existing infrastructure through massing studies and zoning exercises.
The use of colours found in the surrounding landscape gives RTD Ghana its own identity, while remaining a recognisable part of the organisation’s global brand and mission to offer opportunities for exemplary students in football and academia from around the world through its campuses in Africa, the Netherlands, and Denmark. At the Ghana campus, a custom-made logo installation provides an ‘instagrammable’ focal point upon arrival and the entrance is splashed with a large world map graphic, featuring all RTD campuses, which helps staff and students to feel part of a global network. Other environmental graphics, such as inspirational quotes from the international branding guidelines, are mixed with local dialect, serving as wayfinding markers and creating a sense of belonging.