Renzo Piano Designs Emergency Hospital in Uganda with Rammed Earth Walls

Renzo Piano Building Workshop has released an update of their Emergency Children’s Surgery Center in Uganda, as work progresses on the pediatric surgery hospital. Since its inception in 2013, the scheme has sought to merge the practical requirements of the healthcare industry with a “model piece of architecture that is rational, tangible, modern, beautiful, and firmly linked to tradition.”

© RPBW Ph. Giorgio Grandi

The Piano scheme seeks to become a symbol of the important promotion of healthcare and health culture in Uganda, and greater Africa. Responding to the site’s topographical curves towards a nearby lake, the scheme’s walls and pathways will form terraces on which the hospital itself will stand. Stacked walls will break the distinction between various zones to create a unity between the lake, park, and internal hospital environment, leading to “a spatial continuum between interior and exterior.”

© Archivio Emergency

To build the hospital, the team are employing a rammed-earth wall technique, which not only repurposes excavated soil but also gives dignity to a technique that is “associated by most people with a past of poverty that needs to be forgotten.” The ancient method involves a mixture of earth, sand, gravel, binding agents, and traces of water, all compressed in wooden or metal frames. The local-available material negates the need for cement or specialist workers and enhances the scheme’s environmental embodied energy.

© Emergency NGO Technical department

Born from the earth, the hospital will get its energy from the sun, with 9,800 square meters of photovoltaic panels ensuring the hospital has an autonomous electricity supply during the day. The scheme will also be connected to the main line, providing energy to the surrounding area at times of low consumption. The photovoltaic roof “floats” above the building, also guaranteeing shade for the hospital and uncovered walkways.

© Archivio Emergency

News via: Renzo Piano Building Workshop

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Cite: Niall Patrick Walsh. "Renzo Piano Designs Emergency Hospital in Uganda with Rammed Earth Walls" 08 Apr 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

© Archivio Emergency


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