Visiondivision, an international young practice, shared with us their competition entry for a children’s hospital prototype for Rwanda. 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 Visiondivision.
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.