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Nominate now the Building of the Year 2017 »

  1. ArchDaily
  2. Projects
  3. Healthcare Architecture
  4. Burundi
  5. Louise Braverman
  6. 2013
  7. Village Health Works Staff Housing / Louise Braverman

Village Health Works Staff Housing / Louise Braverman

  • 01:00 - 9 January, 2015
Village Health Works Staff Housing / Louise Braverman
Village Health Works Staff Housing / Louise Braverman, © Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

© Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan +12

  • Design Team

    John Gillham, Jing Liu
  • Structural Engineer

    Liam O’Hanlon Engineering, PC
  • Plumbing Engineer

    Plus Group Consulting Engineers
  • Construction Management

    Curtis Bertrand, Roy Greenwald, Matt Krupanski, Astere Niyonkuru
  • Global Procurement

    Gam Kagan Procurement
  • Drawings

    Louise Braverman
  • More SpecsLess Specs
© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

From the architect. Embedded in mountainside of the rural village of Kigutu, the 18-bed Village Health Works Staff Housing is a romance between East African elemental aesthetics and inventive off-the grid sustainability. Cutting a skewed line in the terrain, the 6000 square foot dormitory captures breathtaking mountain views. Currently rebuilding after many years of horrific civil strife, the villagers hope that this housing will create a model for the sustainable future of both the community and the country.

First Floor Plan
First Floor Plan

Porous Porches

To encourage the Kigutu outdoor communal culture, the oversized public porch doors seamlessly connect inside and out, welcoming all who enter. Similarly the private sleeping rooms, each with its own personal vividly colored entry porch, echo this semi-permeable sensibility. The porosity of the porches encourages sociability, enhances airflow into the adjacent sleeping rooms, and frames magnificent unobstructed transverse views of the landscape.

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

Sustainable Strategies

The same elemental design moves that establish its aesthetics will also advance its sustainability. Since Kigutu is 100% off the municipal grid, a nearby solar array and local solar water heaters exclusively power the housing. 

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

Sited partially below grade, the location of the building both reduced excavation costs and takes advantage of the earth’s natural insulation for temperature control. Eliminating the need for air conditioning, the personal porches create three-sided natural ventilation within the bedrooms. The location of the window openings also creates a natural stack effect that amplifies the airflow.

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan

The extended roof overhangs provide solar protection to optimize the use of natural daylight, while French drains distribute runoff rainwater for irrigation.  Yet the greatest efficiency is the human efficiency. The villagers, using local bricks, manually built the housing, eliminating the need for fuel consuming machines and creating transferrable job training skills for members of the entire Kigutu community.

Second Floor Plan
Second Floor Plan
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "Village Health Works Staff Housing / Louise Braverman" 09 Jan 2015. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


Hunter · January 13, 2015

The design itself is nice, but what really helps this building is its off-the-grid energy goal and the well-placed highlights of color. From the chairs to the bedding and back to the building, these create a simple, serene building to stay in.


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