Roche Health Center Design Studios
I have taught graduate elective architecture design studios in fall 2008, 2009 and 2011 in which we have explored the master plan and building designs for the Roche Health Center in Roche, Tanzania in collaboration with the non-profit Village Life Outreach Project.
Village Life Outreach Project is a Cincinnati-based non-profit organization whose current focus involves providing health and educational improvement measures to the people of the Rorya District of Tanzania, East Africa. In these efforts, VLOP aims to not simply provide hand-outs, but rather to empower poor villagers to address the issues that affect their communities. By illuminating and joining the struggle against poverty in Africa, VLOP hopes to also strengthen the local community by promoting ideas of humanitarianism, service, and social responsibility.
Village Life has been taking students and faculty from the medical and engineering schools of the University of Cincinnati to this district in Tanzania for various forms of outreach for the last few years. VLOP takes these students and faculty to small villages near the intersection of Lake Victoria, Kenya and Tanzania where there is no power or water. They stay in the town of Shirati and collaborate with the Tanzanian non-profit SHED – the Shirati Health, Education and Development Foundation.
This studio will explore, develop, test and evolve schematic design proposals for the Roche Health Center medical housing to be built near the health center for doctors and nurses working at the Health Center.
Village Life Outreach Project (www.villagelifeoutreach.org) has been taking medical professionals and students to this region of Tanzania since 2004. The Roche Health Center opened on April 1, 2011 and was the first permanent health care facility in the region.
This was project began in a studio in Fall 2008, was continued in 2009 and the construction was led by a student on co-op. This studio will develop proposals for the medical housing, present these to multiple faculty and other consultant reviewers and eventually develop a developed design for Village Life Outreach.
Under Tanzanian Guidelines for rural Healthcare, there is a requirement to provide housing on-site for doctors and nurses. It is common for medical professionals trained in Mwanza or Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to spend one or two years living in a rural area at a health care facility and providing full-time medical care to the community. The success of these facilities is often based on how desirable the housing is for the medical personnel.
We will examine existing medical housing at length. We will diagram and analyze this typology so that we can improve upon it for the RHC medical housing. We will build upon lessons learned during the design and construction of the Roche Health Center Clinic.
This is a real project that will begin construction once funding is secured. There will be opportunities to be involved in the construction of the project in the future, if interested.
This will be predominantly a collaborative studio from which will come components of a final design proposal for the RHC medical housing. As such, collaboration amongst the studio will be critical. We will be meeting with members of VLOP, the College of Engineering, Emersion Design and working with ARUP Engineers.
Global Humanitarian Design
This studio will introduce students to the burgeoning fields of Global Humanitarian Design and Public Interest Design. We will do some theoretical reading that will provide relevant approaches to doing this type of work. We will have discussions regularly and students will be expected to take part in all reading discussions.
Programming of Medical Housing
This studio will address the layout of existing Tanzanian medical housing and then reconsider how this might be conceived.
Designing for Constructability
Every material and construction technique that is proposed must be buildable by anyone living in Roche Village. As a result, we will approach every design problem through a methodology of constructability.
Detailing and Tectonics
We will be designing, constructing and testing detail conditions for the health center. We will assess the existing design of the Roche Health Center but will be pushing detailing much farther in this project.
There is no infrastructure for power, water or sanitation. Yet, the doctors and nurses expect to have these in their homes. As a result, we will be designing to minimize energy and water needs, but will also design renewable energy systems for these features. Students will use energy modeling software and testing of mock-ups to verify performance in several criteria that will be defined according to the specific area of inquiry.
We will assess all building assemblies:The medical housing will be designed, detailed and documented.
We will test building assemblies with large-scale or full-scale mock-ups
There will be no distinction made between DESIGN and RESEARCH in this studio. This is a research-based studio that will require independent student initiative, creativity and thorough research skills towards the development. We will be incorporating research into the traditional studio design process. The goal is to produce elegant, inspiring and fully sustainable solutions that are embraced by the community in Roche.
We will be utilizing post-colonial theory and other theories on culture and Aid to Africa throughout the course. We will attempt to be as cognizant as possible of the relevant positions in global humanitarian design that can impact designers working abroad for communities in need. See readings below.
TEXTS: Chapters from:
We will be engaging practitioners, faculty and students from several other disciplines throughout the quarter. We will work collectively to incorporate all relevant input within an elegant design solution.
We will get input from the following, amongst others:
All students in the studio will be working towards the development of one successful design proposal for RHC Medical Housing. There will be times when students will work individually or in small teams, but the goal is to produce one solution for VLOP.