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Typical compound houses have three or four blockwork bunglows framing a courtyard that can be used to socialize or hold family events, ranging from meetings to funerals.

Typical compound houses have three or four blockwork bunglows framing a courtyard that can be used to socialize or hold family events, ranging from meetings to funerals.

Photographer: Nipah Dennis/Bloomberg
CityLab
Design

How City Life Transformed Ghana’s Compound Houses

As Accra expanded in the late 19th century, residents recreated the communal homes they knew from the countryside. Today those buildings face overcrowding and demolition.

(This article is part of our ongoing series exploring the iconic home designs that shaped global cities. Read more from the series and sign up to get the next story sent directly to your inbox.) 

For decades, when people built themselves new homes in Ghana’s capital, Accra, you could be pretty sure it would be a compound house.