Page N1.1 . 15 January 2003                     
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    Clinics to Africa

    by ArchitectureWeek

    Although solving the global AIDS crisis may be beyond the scope of architecture, a young nonprofit has demonstrated that architects can apply their skills to help with this intractable humanitarian problem. It is estimated that three-quarters of the world's HIV/AIDS population lives in Sub-Saharan Africa, most without access to health care. One of the obstacles for medical professionals in Africa is lack of adequately equipped facilities within the vast continent.

    Architecture for Humanity has recently concluded a competition for the design of a fully equipped, mobile HIV/AIDS health clinic. Architects, designers, and medical professionals from 51 countries submitted 531 entries; of these, four winning projects were selected. The four teams will travel to South Africa to work with African architects and doctors to further develop their ideas. If sufficiently funded, Architecture for Humanity will build one or more working prototypes, which will then be put into operation.

    The top-ranked project is by Mikkel Beedholm, Mads Mandrup Hansen, and Jan Søndergaard, of KHRAS Architects, from Virum, Denmark. They have designed a simple and affordable modular system that can be adapted to clinics of different sizes. The structure was inspired by the ubiquitous, durable, and highly mobile shipping container, that can be moved by ship, truck, or train. The container-sized clinic frame is then adaptable by people on site, with decks, canopies, and so on. The frames organize the interior space for privacy and lock for security. Facades can be created from brush, fabric, plastic, or local weavings.

    Second place went to students Brendan Harnett and Michelle Myers of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. They call their project BOCSMEDS: Basic Operable Container System for Medical Equipment Distribution and Supply. Their strategy was to modularize the medical program and standardize the whole set with electrical, fuel, and potable water lines. This allows distribution to be tailored to the needs of each site without necessarily relying on local infrastructure.

    The third-Place award went to Heide Schuster and Wilfried Hofmann of Dortmund, Germany. Their idea begins with a truck-sized mobile clinic that can be further extended through the use of a fold-out wall that can create a variety of spaces. The interior modules are extendable with this wall so that each can have additional outdoor space. When the clinic is in transit, the wall can be used for exhibits and information.

    The "Founder's Award" was given to Gaston Tolila and Nicholas Gilliland, of Paris. Their strategy is to build indigenous earthen structures that anchor a mobile clinic. The permanent element includes services and the training of a local person, thus supplying the village with a basic healthcare system after the clinic departs.

    Architecture for Humanity is a volunteer, nonprofit organization founded by Cameron Sinclair in 1999 to promote architectural solutions to global humanitarian crises. The jury for the mobile HIV/AIDS health clinic included: Kate Bourne, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative; Dr Shaffiq Essajee, AIDS Research and Family Care Clinic in Mombasa, Kenya; Rick Joy, architect; Dr. Peter R. Lamptey, Family Health International; Toshiko Mori, Harvard Graduate Design School; Dr. Reuben Mutiso, Tectura International in Nairobi, Kenya; and Jennifer Siegal, Office of Mobile Design.

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    ArchWeek Image

    The top-ranked design in the competition for a mobile HIV/AIDS health clinic, sponsored by Architecture for Humanity, was inspired by the modular, ubiquitous shipping container.
    Image: KHRAS Architects

    ArchWeek Image

    The "Founders Award" went to a project that combines a mobile clinic with a permanent infrastructure that remains after the clinic departs.
    Image: Gaston Tolila and Nicholas Gilliland

    ArchWeek Image

    The second-place project presents a highly flexible modular approach to healthcare delivery.
    mage: Brendan Harnett and Michelle Myers

    ArchWeek Image

    A fold-out wall in the third-place project makes the mobile clinic adjustable into a variety of configurations.
    IImage: Heide Schuster and Wilfried Hofmann

     

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