Entrance foyer of the Great Hall showing busts of previous chancellors and an iconic staircase adorned with a mural painting. © Timothy Latim, 2022.
Rukurato Hall, Banyoro, Uganda and the Great Hall, KNUST, Ghana

Two case studies from Africa






Rukurato Hall, Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom, Great Hall, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, KNUST, Conservation


This article presents two modernist building case studies, one each from East and West Africa which explore approaches to modernist public building conservation. The Rukurato Hall in East Africa, formerly used as a regional assembly hall for the Bunyoro Kingdom in Uganda, is now used as the parliament building of the Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom.
The Great Hall in West Africa at the Kumasi University of Science and Technology (KNUST) serves as an institutional hall; it is a monument of academic and cultural significance in Kumasi. This article delves into the historical evolution of the Great Hall, which has hosted numerous essential events, ranging from local academic gatherings to distinguished international conferences since 1967. The Great Hall’s rich heritage and architectural prominence have been subject to various interventions aimed at conserving its essence. The examination of these interventions in maintaining the integrity of the building while adapting to the changing needs of the university underscores the delicate balance required between modernization and safeguarding cultural and architectural legacies.
Both case studies present contrasting views on the challenges of conservation in the African context, resulting in different conservation efforts. In the case of the Rukurato Hall, arguable the loss of function for a significant period, before reinstatement in the late 1990s and challenges of funding have greatly influenced the ability to realize conservation ambitions. In the Great Hall, whilst conservation funds were secured, and the conservation effort was successful, the use of the Hall has been ‘controlled’ and various actions have arguably tested the authenticity of the conservation process transforming the building aesthetic in the process. This article employs methods of document analysis, archival research, and interviews with key stakeholders.

How to Cite

Latim, T., & Agbeh, J. K. (2023). Rukurato Hall, Banyoro, Uganda and the Great Hall, KNUST, Ghana: Two case studies from Africa. Docomomo Journal, (69), 61–69. https://doi.org/10.52200/docomomo.69.07




Author Biographies

Timothy Latim, Shared Heritage Africa Fellow

Is an independent photographer and architect at Flexi Home, based in Kampala. His work explores the interplay of architecture, people and the environment in which they sit. Looking at the contemporary Ugandan context, Timothy is also fascinated by the mountains and the outdoor life and has served on the committees of Mountain Slayers Uganda and Mountain Club of Uganda.

Jonathan Kplorla Agbeh, Shared Heritage Africa Fellow

Works as a research and teaching assistant with the School of Architecture and Design (SADe), Central University, Ghana. He is also a managing partner at Inspo7 Studios, an architecture firm in Accra. His budding career in architecture and research is committed to the history of architecture and development of sustainable and energy-efficient architecture. Jonathan focuses on historic innovations in the architecture space, attempting to thread it through the present and into the future. His current research under SHA looks at the multiple eras of physical development of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi.