She observed that architects designed at the request of clients thus support from such stakeholders was key to creating a built environment accessible to all, and urged clients to see barrier- free provisions specified in their designs as integral part of the project, and not as a luxury to be deferred to a later stage.
Mrs. Arthiabah was speaking at a symposium held in Accra by the Architects Registration Council (ARC), in collaboration with the Ghana Institute of Architects (GIA), KNUST Department of Architecture and CLEAN Africa, to mark World Architecture day.
World Architecture Day, created by the International Union of Architects (UIA), is celebrated globally by national associations which represents over 1.3 million architects in 124 countries. The global theme for the celebration is: ‘Design a Better World’, but Ghana celebrated it under the sub-theme: ‘Universal Designs/Barrier Free Concepts in Ghana’.
Mrs. Arthiabah said civil society and policy makers should support architects to create buildings, products and environments that were inherently accessible to all, regardless of age, ability and status in life.
She congratulated architects on their work of creativity and skill in shaping the environment and people’s lives, and contributing positively to national development and productivity.
The symposium brought together people from academia, traditional authorities and personnel of the security agencies, built environment stakeholders, students, the Ghana Health Service, and civil societies.
There were presentations by experts including Prof. Dr. H. Nii-Adziri Wellington, Fellow of Ghana Institute of Architects.
The chairperson for the event, Ms. Emma Lilian Bruce-Lyle, a public administration and disability consultant expressed regret that barrier- free and universal design concepts in building design had not been adequately addressed in governance, saying it was necessary in order for persons with disability (PWDs) to live independently.
The Secretary of GIA, Foster Osae-Akonnor, who spoke on behalf of the institute called on architects to rededicate themselves to designs that reflected inclusiveness,
He noted that through its work streams on Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assembly and Public and Government Building initiatives, and in partnership with other stakeholders, the institute would continue to dialogue with government on the development of a built environment that would address inclusiveness, highlighting the global Goals for sustainable development, water, sanitation and food security in urban areas.
For his part the Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Dr. Kwaku Agyemang-Mensah,in an address read on his behalf, charged architects to make their designs inclusive to address challenges posed by urbanisation.