sir david adjaye’s promised design fees under scrutiny


A minority member of Parliament in Ghana is leading a campaign against award-winning architect Sir David Adjaye, involving agreed-upon fees for the design team’s work on the ongoing National Cathedral project (see designboom’s coverage of the design here). While the team’s fee represents 10.5% of the total construction costs, the amount will not be paid in full to Adjaye & Associates’ team — which includes fourteen consultants — until the project reaches completion.


The west African nation had been led by its New Patriotic Party (NPP) since Nana Akufo-Addo was elected President in 2020. Now, the challenging National Democratic Congress (NDC) party hopes to win back leadership in 2024.


As part of its campaign centering on economic improvement, NDC Member of Parliament Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa is demanding answers from the nation’s finance minister regarding the sum of $21.37 million USD in state funds designated for Adjaye & Associates 10.5% design fee, which he claims to have not been approved by parliament. While the MP condemns the President for promising such an amount, the fee is in fact less than the standard of 16.5% recommended by Ghana’s Ministry of Works and Housing (see here).


Ablakwa, currently the minority spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, claims that because the payments were released by the state without approval by parliament, the procurement process by Adjaye & Associates was ‘fraudulent.’ However, the fees had been approved in 2018 by Ghana’s Public Procurement Authority, a board established in 2003 by the nation’s Parliament. With 2024 elections in mind, Ablakwa has declared that a future NDC government would eventually call for Sir David Adjaye to refund the design fee which the team was promised for their work.

david adjaye ghana cathedralPresident Nana Akufo-Addo (left) and Sir David Adjaye view a physical model of the National Cathedral



the status of the national cathedral


David Adjaye and his design team at Adjaye & Associates unveiled first images of the National Cathedral’s design in 2018. It is planned to be built in the nation’s capital, the coastal city of Accra, and to cover fourteen acres of newly landscaped gardens adjacent to Osu Cemetery. The proposal comprises a diverse set of programming including: a series of chapels, a baptistery, a 5000-seat two-level auditorium, a grand central hall, music school, choir rehearsal, art gallery, and a gift shop.


The minority MP Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has taken to twitter to claim that the project would not be able to be completed by its 2024 deadline set by President Nana Akufo-Addo. Already, many private residences and businesses have been demolished and relocated to make way for the fourteen acres of new construction and landscaping, but construction had been suspended in March 2022.

david adjaye ghana cathedral david adjaye ghana cathedral