Publication

  • The Course of Empire: A Compound House Typology
    Nana Biamah-Ofosu, Mark El-khatib, and Bushra Mohamed
    Authors
    Register Research Group, 2022
  • GRANTEE
    Nana Biamah-Ofosu, Mark El-khatib & Bushra Mohamed
    GRANT YEAR
    2021

Nana Biamah-Ofosu, “The African Compound House,” 2020. Digital drawing, 10 x 6.86 in. Courtesy Nana Biamah-Ofosu

This publication documents the African compound house as typology, investigating its historical and contemporary condition. Part of an ongoing research project, the book focuses on this typology in Ghana, exploring it through precedent and contemporary design projects. The Course of Empire investigates how this historic typology can be used to generate more thoughtful responses to urban growth and continuity in African and Western cities. Published by Register, the Department of Architecture and Landscape publishing body, the book comprises student’s drawings and design proposals from students of Studio 2.2 at the Kingston School of Art. It also includes critical essays from the authors and other scholars of African building culture. There is a lack of cultural critique and reflection in contemporary architectural theory that is largely rooted in the current scope of architectural history. By shifting the lens of what is coveted as architectural history, the publication seeks to contribute to a more pluralistic reading of the architectural canon.

Nana Biamah-Ofosu is an architectural designer, researcher and writer practicing in London. She combines practice with teaching an undergraduate design studio at the Department of Architecture and Landscape at Kingston School of Art where she is leading a studio researching and developing proposals based on the compound house typology. Biamah-Ofosu is also part of the newly formed group, gRAU, which emerges out of the second cohort of New Architecture Writers. Biamah-Ofosu’s work has been published in the UK architectural press as well as internationally as a finalist for the Berkeley Prize for Undergraduate Architectural Design Excellence. She has also exhibited internationally as part of the Forum da Malagueira exhibition by Drawing Matter Trust in Evora, Portugal. Biamah-Ofosu delivered the inaugural Architectural Drawing Summer School, sponsored by the Royal Fine Arts Commission Trust, Drawing Matter Trust and Kingston University.

Mark El-khatib is a London-based designer running his collaborative studio developing publications, printed matter, websites, visual identities, exhibition and environmental graphics. He received his MA from the Royal College of Art in 2010 and was previously a partner at Sara De Bondt studio. Alongside his own practice, Mark was art director of Tate Etc. magazine (2011–16). Recent commissions include publication design for Serpentine Galleries, Tate Publishing; a new identity and way-finding for MK Gallery; ongoing book collaborations with artist Pablo Bronstein.

Bushra Mohamed is an architect, researcher and educator, currently practicing in London. She also teaches Diploma at the Architectural Association and collaborates on a second year studio at Kingston School of Art. She has previously worked for DRDH, Adam Khan Architects and Assemble, as well as Monadnock Architects in the Netherlands. She has also exhibited internationally as part of the Forum da Malagueira exhibition by Drawing Matter Trust in Evora, Portugal. Bushra delivered the inaugural Architectural Drawing Summer School, sponsored by the Royal Fine Arts Commission Trust, Drawing Matter Trust and Kingston University.