Since 2008, I have been managing and leading the design of a health center for approximately 20,000 African villagers who have no other access to healthcare on a site with no power, no clean water and no infrastructure for waste or sanitation with an extremely limited budget. Every design decision has impacted the quality and duration of the lives of thousands of individuals in this region. In this context, the role of qualitative and quantitative research becomes absolutely essential throughout every step of the design process. Any consideration of a design decision that doesn’t come from an understanding of its constructability, transferability, energy performance, structural performance, programmatic flexibility and cultural appropriateness are irresponsible decisions by any measure.
From its inception, this has been a collaborative project in which University of Cincinnati students, faculty and practitioners from the disciplines of architecture and design, engineering (civil, environmental, hydrological, structural, materials, acoustic, and thermal), medicine and nursing, geography, history and sociology have worked collectively with members of this Tanzanian village to respond to the complex, rigorous, ever-changing criteria for this project.
The design of the clinic included input from two graduate architecture studios at the University of Cincinnati as well as members of Village Life Outreach Project and members of the Roche Health Center Committee in Roche, Tanzania. Construction was under the direction of Emily Roush Elliott, who was in Tanzania in spring and summer 2010. She was working as a co-op intern architecture student for me and Village Life Outreach.
My role in the design and construction of the Roche Health Center has been to coordinate, manage, direct and oversee the design and construction of all of the Roche Health Center projects. I have worked with dozens of engineers and consultants to address the complex conditions in Roche, Tanzania. There is no power, no clean water and no sanitation at the site in Tanzania.
The masterplan of the health center emerged through months of research into all of the variables impacting a health center in rural Tanzania. We worked with the local community and identified a desire for a design that would not only be functional, but also become the community center for the village of Roche.
The Roche Health Center was designed with a series of goals:
The project has won several awards including:
2011 National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) Prize for Creative Integration of Practice and Education in the Academy