Located in Woldya, a town in the Amhara region in northeast Ethiopia, the new maternity care center is placed at the entrance of the Woldya hospital becoming a new gathering area for future mothers. Designed by Xavier Vilalta Architects (XVA), maternity is divided in two areas that share an entrance space: the maternity unit and the mothers waiting area. The first one is the functional and operational medical space and the second, a temporary hostel for upcoming patients that need a place to stay before they enter in the final stage of their pregnancy. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The town elevation is 2112 m above sea level and has a favourable climate with temperatures that range 12 to 27 ºC - and regular precipitation intensity during the whole year. Woldya is surrounded by a beautiful landscape of mountains and a large abundance of greenery.
The maternity unit is composed by 3 rectangular concrete volumes that are connected by a central corridor. The 3 volumes are the different areas of the maternity unit: Reception, Patient and Operation areas. These are separated from each other to bring light inside the main circulation and connected with the glass corridor.
Fractal designs appear frequently in cultural artifacts across the continent of Africa. They are found in textiles, architecture, sculpture, village layout, etc. Continent wide studies conclude that the high frequency of the use of fractals in Africa is by both conscious and unconscious design.
The maternity unit construction system and sustainability strategies are a combination of traditional solutions, available resources and engineering systems that will improve the building’s performance. The structure of the maternity is based on concrete brick walls and slabs and on wood pillars and rattan panels on the mothers home. These incorporate insulation and the main services. All the rooms of the maternity have natural ventilation considering the favorable climate of the region. The windows of the different rooms are built with wood and protected from intrusion with a common metal frame shaped with a traditional Ethiopian pattern.
Electricity is generated with photovoltaic panels to make the building independent from the grid and also serve the demands of the mothers waiting home. A network of water tanks is placed on the roof to collect the rain water. This water will be heated naturally by the sun and its position also provides pressure to the internal pipes.
Mothers Waiting Area
The mothers waiting area is inspired by the tukuls, the traditional Ethiopian huts and it is composed by circular volumes connected by paths. Like a big house for new mothers, it has a day area with an open air living room, the veranda, and a kitchen and a night area with 5 rooms and toilets.
Architects: Xavier Vilalta Architects (XVA)
Location: Woldya, Ethiopia
Director: Xavier Vilalta
Project Leader: Maria Rosaria Favoino
Design Team: Luiza Kostecka, Anna Kyskova
Client: IPI foundation
Surface Area: 800 m2
Project Phase: Complete design and construction monitoring
Budget: 200.000 Euros
Project Date: January 2013
Construction Start Date: August 2013