Sustainable by design 2050

An initiative of the UIA

Velux model home 2020




One Airport Square

One Airport Square
One Airport Square
One Airport Square
One Airport Square
Mario Cucinella Architects
BDSP Partnership, Politecnica, DEGW Italia
Africa - Ghana - Accra
Climate Zone
Design status
Date of completion
Mixed use
Site area (m²)
Footprint (m²)
GFA (m²)
NFA (m²)
Gross Volume (GV) (m³)
Building Costs
40000000 USD
Building Costs / m² GFA
Building Costs / m² NFA
Building Costs / m³ GV
Primary Energy (kWh/m²a)
Cooling Energy (kWh/m²a)
Cooling / Heating-System

Natural ventilation through openable windows will provide fresh air and meet a percent of the building's cooling demand, when ambient conditions allow to do so. During warm months, an underfloor "cool" air distribution system will met all requirements for fresh air and cooling (minimum fresh air provision with air recirculation). Whenever neccessary, chilled water will be produced by an Air Cooled Chiller located at the roof level. No Heating system provided (as this was found unneccessary).

Use of renewable ressources - low tech
natural cross ventilation, evapoartive cooling, use of high thermal mass, others
Use of renewable ressources - high tech
energy recuperation
Key Sustainability aspects
solar building integration, vernacular building strategies, public spaces, renewable building materials, recycling and reuse, ecological building materials, integrated planning process, participation of users in planning process, low cost design, use of innovative design tools
Social and ethical responsibility

We expect our business partners to understand the importance we attach to integrating the management of ESG issues fully into business processes. This involves following our approach to: the environment, climate change, health and safety, social issues and business integrity. All contractors and sub-contractors are required to follow Health and Safety Guidelines issued by Actis/Laurus. One Airport Square will be the first certified "green" commercial building in Ghana. This will set an example and will raise the bar for future developments in the region. We are supporting the establishment of the Ghana Green Building Council and we offered One Airport Square as a pilot project for the adaptation of an international "green" certification procedure in the Ghanaian context (Green Star). The project will create approximately 150 jobs during construction and roughly 30 permanent jobs once the building is complete. We have required that all international consultants on the Project (architect, engineers, environmental consultant, quantity surveyor, etc) partner up with a local consultant to promote knowledge transfer. Laurus has engaged local authorities during the design process (Accra Metropolitan Authority (AMA), Town and Country Planning Department, Ghana Airport Authority) to make sure One Airport Square contributes to their vision and strategy.

Ressource efficiency and environmental impact

In Ghana, the import of building materials attracts 50-60% of import costs. We have worked with the Architect MCA to make sure One Airport Square makes use of local supplies to the maximum extent possible. In outlining a solar shading strategy, for example, we have ruled out the use of expensive imported curtain walls with high performance glass and/or solar shading devices and instead opted for horizontal concrete overhangs (concrete is produced locally) which shade the simple, locally sourced glass wall, reducing thermal gain.

Economic lifecycle perfomance

The ‘prosperity' of an office building depends on its ability to attract and retain tenants all along its life-cycle. Tenants pay higher rents and stay longer in premises which are space efficient, flexible and well managed. In One Airport Square we have worked with the Architect and DEGW, the world leading office space planning consultant, to design the most efficient office space in Ghana and to make sure the final user can change its office configuration many times over at a minimum cost. In addition we have engaged Broll Ghana (the leading property manager in the country) to provide advice on design in view of the future operational life of the building; this is to make sure the right choices are made today to allow the building to be properly managed and prosper tomorrow.

Contextual performance and impact

A first time visitor to Accra, may wonder why the city is littered with unfinished concrete structures; some of which have been sadly populating the city's skyline for decades. The answer is a lack of available long term debt and equity funding coupled with poor financial planning and investment practices: most developers start construction before securing full funding for the project. Debt financing for real estate development is almost non-existent and only two international financial institutions provide small loans to the few reputable developers. For a capital intensive industry like real estate these are huge hurdles. With a 60-year history of investing exclusively in emerging markets, Actis is pioneering private equity investment practices in the region. Actis' Africa Real Estate Fund provides the financial muscle and the equity needed to properly capitalize One Airport Square and other projects in the region, and to make sure the project is completed profitably. Actis' disciplined investment approach coupled with Laurus strong local development and risk management expertise are giving comfort to banks venturing in to the new business of real estate debt financing and are supporting the emergence of a local debt financial market in the region.