Located in Laongo, a village not too far from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s capital, the health facility known as Centre de Santé et de Promotion Sociale,which translates to Centre for health and social advancement was set up as an important component of the Village Opera project produced in conjunction with the late Christoph Schlingensief, and is geared towards providing basic health and medical resources for the local population.
From the Project Architects:
Borrowing heavily from the traditional earth architecture of this region, and aimed at improving the lives of the local people as Kere Architecture, has always approached most of its designs, the infirmary springs up as a sculptural and artistic earth structure punctured with fenestrations that draw in light and fresh air, while maintaining privacy for those inside. From the central court, these well-positioned openings not only serve to light and ventilate but give miniature framed views, each focused on a unique part of the surrounding landscape.
The playful fenestration design emerged from the need to accommodate all users of this facility by varying the vantage points of standing, seated, or bedridden individuals including children.
Organized around a simple orthogonal layout, the center consists of three units around a central waiting area: dentistry, gynecology and obstetrics, and general medecine. The facility is rendered with examination rooms, inpatient wards, and staff offices. The environmental factor being a key concern in this design, special consideration is taken for visitors and family of patients with several shaded courtyards for gathering and waiting. In addition to two large courtyards on site, each building has an inner courtyard. Except for some parts, a bigger part of the complex is surrounded by an external wall which not only marks the boundary but protects spaces from external elements.
The infirmary is approached through a winding path to the south west from the opera house. In keeping with the material aesthetic and ecology of the Opera Village, local clay and laterite stone was used in the double-envelope construction of the walls for extra rain protection. Locally available eucalyptus wood, which is seen as an environmental nuisance in this region because it contributes to desertification, is used to line the suspended ceilings and covered walkways of the center. The result is a building that blends well within its context and strives in every way to achieve social and environmental sustainability.
"Architecture is much more than art. And it is by far more than just building buildings". Meet award-winning architect Diébédo Francis Kéré from Burkina Faso in this interview about his architectural philosophy.