Rugerero Health Centre
Rugerero Sector, Rubavu District, Rwanda
Health Builders + Rubavu District
$154/sqm inc. VAT (building)
$88/sqm inc. VAT (total)
ASA studio has designed an improved health centre in Rugerero, which formerly had limited access to basic life-saving health services. The new facility is designed to serve approximately 45,000 people living in the Rugerero Sector and surrounding rural areas in west Rwanda. The project was initiated by Health Builders and partially financed by the local government. The collective ambition was to provide a high quality health facility, which engaged the community through participatory design and construction, and utilised locally sourced materials and traditional techniques.
The single storey building is made from on-site fired bricks reinforced with metal bars and buttresses that rest on volcanic stone foundations. ASA focused on enriching the aestheric impact of the desigin to make the health centre more appealing to its users. The spatial sequence is intuitive and visually uniform to facilitate movememtn and orientation through the building. Universal accessibility is ensured through ramps and smooth surfaces. Light, exterior views and quality materials enhance the healing process and create a peaceful and pleasant working environment.
The design is based on simple considerations of accessibility and strategic separation of outpatients, inpatients, mothers and visitors. The programme is arranged into two main blocks connected by a central corridor. The entry block hosts reception and waiting areas, OPD, nutrition and administration. The upper block hosts the wards and maternity unit. The latter is accessible by ambulance through a dedicated gate. A separate service block consists of incinerator, generator, storage and water treatment. Landscaping and seating areas characterize the green filter space between the blocks. This common area offers shade and seating to mothers and visiting families.
The landscaping defines three grades of privacy: the public frontage of the health centre, which spills out onto an existing square; a semi-private internal courtyard with shaded seating for visiting families and a private garden to the rear.
These green patios throughout the building contain numerous trees and shrubs to reduce local temperatures through evaporative cooling, as well as having a positive healing effect on patients.
Masons, carpenters and welders were educated through hands-on training to improve local construction techniques. This has a spillover effect on the quality of local construction, resulting in a more dignified, healthy and safe built environment.
ASA are working to promote gender equality in the male dominated construction industry, which on the African continent comprises of less than 6% women. Construction of the Rugerero Health Centre was undertaken by a 50% women workforce, enabling them to earn as they learn. With their wages, women were able to provide a health-insurance plan and two to three meals a day for their families.
Large overhangs create a colonnade around the central courtyard, which keeps direct sunlight off the masonry walls. A covered walkway traverses the courtyard to create a shaded connection between the two accommodation blocks.
Double Skin Roof
Umusave wooden planks with damp proof and insect preservation have been used as a ceiling material. These are attached to wooden purlins on the underside of the steel roof trusses, creating a substantial air gap that helps to limit thermal transfer from the metal roof sheets.
Daylight is an important resource in consultation rooms, wards and the delivery area to reduce expensive power consumption and overcome frequent power cuts.
The plan of the health centre has multiple cut outs, which act as light wells allowing daylight to penetrate in to the internal spaces. Maximum daylighting is achieved through the prevalent use of feature windows, wall perforations and rooflights.
The rooflight design has been carefully considered to reduce glare. Openings are not cut out of the roof itself, but allow light to enter above the roof and penetrate into the spaces below by reflecting off the white plaster walls.
Direct light is reduced through the use of shading devices and woven screening.