TWO HEALTH CENTRES to heal and restore dignity | The Plan
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TWO HEALTH CENTRES to heal and restore dignity

Mass Design Group

TWO HEALTH CENTRES to heal and restore dignity
By Caterina Testa -

The quality of the space around us has an economic, social, cultural and political influence on its wider context. Good architecture has a positive effect on crucial aspects of daily life, restoring dignity to those who use it. It follows that designing good architecture means determining the impact architecture will have on the community and its members.

MASS Design Group has been designing health centres since 2008, mainly in Africa and Haiti. Where economic and material sources are sorely lacking and living conditions often dire, the role of public buildings becomes all-important. This awareness led the practice to develop a design method focused not only on the result but also on the process and impact of any new architecture.

First-hand knowledge and assessment of context are essential to understanding the limits and opportunities of the case in hand, and how constraints can be turned into strengths. All aspects of the process are geared to maximising the economic, educational and environmental impacts at a local level. In practical terms this means employing the local population on the worksite, which brings both economic benefits to the community and a greater sense of involvement and ownership with regard to the new building. The materials and building methods used are customary to the area, which means cheaper procurement and involvement of local craftsmen. Finally, the use of simple technological solutions suitable to climate and context will ensure feasible economical maintenance in the future.

Sponsored by Les Centres Gheskio, an organisation engaged in healthcare in Haiti, the Cholera Treatment Centre and the Ludwig Pavilion have been built according to this approach.

As well as taking on board the specifics of place, the cholera hospital takes its cue from the treatment requirements specific to the disease. The fight against cholera is effective if the disease is treated, but also if contagion is prevented....

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