Ghana Innovation Farm: the third edition of the Manni Group Design Award looks at the development of the Cold Chain in Africa

Ghana Innovation Farm: the third edition of the Manni Group Design Award looks at the development of the Cold Chain in Africa

18 Oct, 2021

The third edition of the Manni Group Design Award, the international architecture competition that rewards design solutions capable of creating livable and sustainable places thanks to the use of dry technologies, is starting.

After the success of the contests aimed at the Xi'An Train Station and the Detroit Waterfront District, this year's theme is the food supply chain in Africa: the competition launched by Manni Group, in collaboration with YAC - Young Architects Competition, calls for ideas and projects for an innovative cold pole in Ghana.

The designers will be able to exploit all the advantages that off-site technology makes available, thus creating the Ghana Innovation Farm: a hub that will play a fundamental role in increasing the well-being of the population both from an economic point of view and linked to the theme of the efficient architectural design.

The € 20,000 prize money will be awarded to the most sustainable and innovative projects by a prestigious jury of international star architects.


The cold chain for the development of the planet

In West Africa only 3% of the perishable harverst is stored with proper storage in a controlled temperature environment, compared to 90% in the European Union, with the result that a third of perishable products are necessarily wasted. This fact prevents the African continent from being self-sufficient from a food point of view and from opening a real export channel.

The cold chain is therefore one of the key points of the nutrition challenge. The storage and conservation of fresh food, however, require ideas and investments that can raise awareness of how fundamental the cold chain is in the processes of economic, social and cultural development of local communities.

In one of the fastest growing African agricultural scenarios, in line with the objectives of the United Nations, InspiraFarms is preparing to create a technological and cultural hub, aimed at guaranteeing a response to the global challenges of the food supply chains, generating greater product availability and job opportunities for a context in which over 25% of the population lives below the poverty line.


Ghana Innovation Farm

Ghana, the "land of the Warrior King" or "gold coast" is historically one of the richest and trade-based African lands, a nation that boasts magnificent beaches with sandy coastlines and a flourishing countryside with soft shapes. In this land of wonders and terrible socio-economic contradictions, one hour from the airport of the capital Accra, the Ghanaian government has established a 171-hectare technology hub. Within this structure and in alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development program, InspiraFarms has provided a cold chain center equipped with several plants aimed at supporting local farmers in the harvest season and in the period thereafter.

Here, an infrastructure system and a training center will share knowledge and technologies with the local population to meet their needs, developing strategies to make their activities more competitive and new ways to create jobs and opportunities, especially for the population groups exposed to greater risk.

This is the goal of Ghana Innovation Farm, the third edition of the Manni Group Design Award, an ally of InspiraFarms in building a beacon of culture and innovation: a place that can become a reference for the local community, offering resources, knowledge and solutions capable of giving answers to the most fundamental of human rights, access to food.

Each intervention must be inspired by the broadest principles of environmental sustainability through off-site construction, both in terms of energy needs - crucial in the cold chain - and for the impact of the construction site.

The designers are asked to enhance the design of the proposal: Ghana Innovation Farm will have to define an iconic architecture, capable of becoming a symbol of a process of innovation and modernization of the entire country.


The international jury

The 2021 edition of the Manni Group Design Award will see, thanks to its powerful focus, the participation as judges of architects and designers of international caliber:

There are 12 judges this year, including archistars such as Eduardo Souto de Moura (Eduardo Souto de Moura), Andreas Fries (Herzog & de Meuron), Giancarlo Mazzanti (El Equipo Mazzanti), Raul Pantaleo (TAMassociati), Giuseppe Grant (Horizontal).

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The partners of the competition

The project counts on the partnership of two excellences in the field of cold chain development on the African continent: InspiraFarms, founded in 2012 with the aim of providing small agricultural businesses growing in emerging markets with the tools, technology and experience to significantly reduce food losses and energy costs, and access higher-value markets; and IFRIA, which globally operates in frontier markets to profitably develop impactful cold chain assets in North and West African markets.

The high value of this initiative is evidenced by the patronage of SACE, the Italian Export Credit Agency, which supports sustainable projects in Italy and abroad; the Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA), the world's most important association in the cold logistics sector; and the Fondazione Promozione Acciaio, a cultural institution that promotes the progress of steel construction and infrastructure.

Other very important partners have joined the MGDA21 team: BASF, leader in the chemical sector, is the Main Sponsor of the competition and will award a Gold Mention; Renolit, a reference point for the production of synthetic membranes, and ROCKWOOL, the main player in the mineral wool market as Sponsors.

Manni Group: steel and sustainability

The Italian company Manni Group offers systems, solutions and skills for the world of dry steel construction, promoting new scenarios to overcome the energy waste and polluting emissions in the existing building stock. In over 75 years of activity, the Group has become international by promoting the principles of the Circular Economy and sustainable construction.

A commitment that has resulted in the processing of materials such as steel, 100% recyclable, and in the creation of products that contribute to the achievement of the criteria for obtaining LEED and BREEAM certifications and compliance with national CAMs. The Group also makes use of tools aimed at transparency, such as EPD and the DECLARE label issued by ILFI - International Living Future Institute.

This year's competition focuses on the positive externalities that efficient and integrated development projects can bring to the area. Today more than ever, in fact, writing about the future means committing oneself to a more equitable and sustainable world, capable of conserving resources and developing opportunities for the new generations. The Manni Group Design Award is therefore confirmed as an appointment of value, a look to the future that encourages talent and favors change.



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Practical info

Manni Group Design Award prize pool: 20.000 €

Participation: individuals or teams of architects of any nationality can participate, as long as at least one member is under 35.

Deadline for submission of documents: January 19, 2022

Early bird” deadline: November 21, 2021

For any information or support requests, contact YAC at

Written by

Raffaele Bulgarelli - Digital Marketing Expert at Manni Group
Raffaele Bulgarelli - Digital Marketing Expert at Manni Group

Raffaele, Digital Marketing Expert of Manni Group, works in synergy with Isopan, gaining insight into the technical world of sandwich panels and keeping pace with the latest trends in the building industry. Thanks to his training in Architecture, he has a keen eye for online topics and activities involving designers and architects.

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