The Roche Health Center is a healthcare facility serving several hundred people in a remote area of western Tanzania, on a site that lacks electrical service, water service, or a sanitary sewer. The first building on the site, completed in 2010, was the product of a previous design-build studio and now provides basic healthcare services to the community. The objectives of the 2011 studio included the design of a public edge for the complex, research into precedents and materials that can be utilized locally, and the design of housing for doctors and nurses that can be replicated by the local population and respects the traditions and aspirations of the community.
Precedent research included case studies of similar projects by Architecture for Humanity, MASS Design Group, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This led to the development of a precast concrete module that can be used for structural columns in place of the more labor-intensive cast concrete columns used in the existing structure, and construction of a full-scale mockup. The public edge and housing structures were designed using a modular system that allows for flexibility for planning and future expansion, while ensuring structural integrity in a seismically-active area. The housing units are each designed around an open courtyard that provides a modern interpretation of the central “cour” often found in local vernacular housing, while avoiding a reflexive copying of traditional housing forms. The roofs of all housing units are sloped to provide a means for capturing rainwater during semi-annual monsoons in an otherwise dry climate.
Graduate Elective Studio, Fall 2011
University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning
Studio Critic: Michael Zeretsky