Children’s Hospital Prototype / Visiondivision

Visiondivision, an international young practice, shared with us their competition entry for a children’s hospital prototype for .  The competition, entitled “Design for the Children”, asks architects and designers to develop a sustainable, culturally responsive, pediatric clinic model for East Africa.

More images and further project description after the break.

“When we saw this competition, we felt urged to create a proposal.  Insufficient water is one of the most severe problems in rural Africa. For many families it is extremely time consuming to collect and can easily start conflicts between villages.  We had an idea that we should create a dew/rainwater collector as a roof and the rest of the building would more or less handle itself. To test the idea we went to the Sahara desert where an experiment with a dew collecting umbrella was successfully performed,” commented the architects at
 The concept for the prototype is an upscaled upside down umbrella.  The umbrella serves as a shading element for the hospital in addition to gathering rainwater or dew to supply the hospital with clean water.  In the prototype, the umbrella element is made from light felt and steel. The water gathering device is centralized and the hospital rooms are placed in clusters around the tank. The spaces behind the building can be used as terraces that are shaded by the roof structure.

Visiondivision’s prototype can easily be expanded by adding an outer layer of felt and moving the pillars away from the center point. The different hospital clusters will expand by mirroring themselves outwards. As the structure grows, so to does the water supply surface.   Modern materials can be added to improve the village without interfering with the design intent.
Visiondivision’s competition proposal sees the hospital as a small village that provides local materials and water to all those under the umbrella.  While competitions such as Design for the Children may not always be in the architectural spotlight, it is important to utilize architectural talent to better the lives of the less fortunate.  These competitions are equally important and even more rewarding.

For more about the competition and other entries.

Cite: Cilento, Karen. "Children’s Hospital Prototype / Visiondivision" 26 May 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 May 2015. <>
  • http://whatisit? 02136wsj

    what is it ?

  • INawe

    Love the simple concept. Other cultures already use this type of water gathering (yet on a smaller scale). I would love to see this project further developed as it is very far from a built solution.

  • Professor of Innovation

    Love the sentiment but it’s very, very, very similar to Paul Morgan’s widely awarded and published Cape Schanck House in Victoria, Australia. Paul Morgan’s bub is a water tank too… Have a look at:

  • Professor of Innovation

    Sorry, “bulb”!

  • Design Metafeed

    #architecture Children’s Hospital Prototype / Visiondivision:
    Visiondivision, an international you..

  • David Basulto [tricky]

    I love the work by visiondivision, specially their discourse.

  • dustin

    wow… that is not only similar, it is almost exactly the same.

  • hh

    i love the concept. simple and practical in that surroundings. it comes very nature.

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  • Riquelme

    great little project, thanks for sharing!

  • Jim Strapko
  • Jim Strapko

    Pediatric clinic prototype for East Africa: – how well does the water collection idea work? So what if it is a copy?

  • Sarah

    I wonder, if with scaling, a greater risk of evaporation might be incurred? Because the dew has to travel a longer way before it is trapped, which takes longer, during which the sun is higher, etc. Perhaps another precedent shape, that of Wright’s Johnson Wax Building, with umbrella-funnels linked together to make a composite shade covering/water collection system?

  • Sarah Nagy

    @jastrapko Scaling umbrella would risk evaporation loss? Repeat smaller funnels, a la Johnson Wax?

  • joaquin cabral

    I don´t get the problem of taking the idea of Morgan House, to use it… actually, it makes more sense to me used here than in the house

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  • Aleksandar

    Interesting little concept, simple yet effective

  • Ialos

    This will be the solution for medical care in Africa

  • Professor of Innovation

    Joaquin Cabral, no-one said it was a problem — just highlighting that it’s not necessarily the result of completely original thought. However, I doubt you have much info about this project or the Morgan house upon which to make your comments. At the Morgan House, the water tank reduces the need for mains water in a severaly drought-effected area and also reduces energy demand because of its inherent thermal mass. Sounds like a good prototype for housing in a post-carbon world. Or at least a tool for thinking more about climate problems. And it has actually been built!!!

  • Yemen

    good concept, sweet project!

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  • tarane r

    good there we have supple space
    we have many choice to set