Africa International Design Competition 2011

Arquitectura Videos Noticias Africa International Design Competition 2011

The continuous improvement of the quality of life and wellbeing of all African citizens will be founded on the recognition that a healthy population is the foundation for social development and economic growth. It requires new perspectives that consider wellness factors to encourage innovative design for a healthy environment.

Design objectives for enhancing human health must facilitate an active lifestyle, enable the successful management of physical, psychological and emotional stress, and support mental and cognitive processing of information by stimuli in a variety of designed environments. Central to this is the development of a scientific research base that explores the application of a ‘salutogenic’ approach to health infrastructure – preventative care that moves the focus away from risk factors and the treatment of disease towards a holistic understanding of a healthy society in the African context.

In April 2011, The Ministry of Health in South Africa and the International Academy for Design and Health announced a major international competition to design a ‘Health Promoting Lifestyle Centre’ in South Africa. Winners were announced in Cape Town at the Academy`s Design & Health Africa 2011 International Symposium in October 2011.

The competition was the outcome of a meeting in early 2011 between Dr Alan Dilani, director-general of the International Academy for Design and Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Health in South Africa and Dr Massoud Shaker, senior adviser to the Health Minister, which created a new vision for primary healthcare in South Africa – ‘Health Promoting Lifestyle Centres’ (HPLCs) – which could subsequently be extended across sub Saharan Africa.

Half of all deaths of children under the age of five occur in Africa, where only a few countries are able to spend the $34-$40 per person per year that WHO identifies as the minimum necessary to meet a population’s basic healthcare needs. Over the next decade, it is estimated by the International Finance Corporation that $25-$30 billion of new investment will be needed in healthcare assets, including hospitals and clinics, to meet the growing demands of the healthcare market in sub-Saharan Africa.

THE WINNER: Protea Health
Designed by Farrow Partnership Architects, Ngonyama Okpanum & Associates and Clark Nexsen

This joint submission puts the national flower of South Africa, the Protea, at the heart of its scheme. Its form sits at the heart of the HPLC, open to the sky and acting as a beacon for users – the symbol of a safe and healthy gathering place, and a metaphor for healing and renewal.

Extensive outdoor features include sheltered waiting and circulation areas, gardens, worship/meditation areas, and a ‘learning kitchen’ where nutritional counselling and cooking practice takes place. Indoors are outpatient clinics (including antenatal, dental, TB/HIV/AIDS and traditional healing); retail space (a pharmacy and optician), educational space (family planning, counselling), clinics, a library and a theatre. A strong emphasis is placed on learning, with classrooms provided for training in subjects as diverse as malaria net installation and sustainable farming; the HPLC will also train health workers.

The central flower-shaped opening in the building facilitates passive air circulation, while below-floor air circulation feeds passive air movement up through the roof vents. Further sustainable features include solar photovoltaics on the roof, composting and rainwater collection. The building is single storey, for ease of construction.

“Guided and inspired by nature, the HPLC will leverage salutogenic design principles to advance the physical, mental, social and spiritual dimensions of health,” said the team’s submission. “It will also be an exemplar facility for high performance, operational efficiency and environmental regeneration.”

Its vision is for a “Centre of Influence” equivalent to the hospital-based Centre of Excellence: “Whereas the well-established concept of the Centre of Excellence is recognised as the source for outstanding downstream illness care, this South African centric innovation will change how people think about their lives. It will set an international standard for promoting the full range of upstream causes of health, which will be seen as appealing, understandable and accessible to everyone.”

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