Texas Architect July/Aug 2012: Healthcare & Wellness
In this edition about design for healthcare and wellness, we look at good buildings of both types. But the role of architects in public health goes far beyond their work on the hospitals, clinics, and fitness facilities routinely associated with these two categories. The broader purview includes their role in shaping more livable, sustainable, and healthy communities — the premise being that there is a direct correlation between the design of a community and the health of its people.
18 Texas Architect 7/8 2012 Paperwork Health Center, El Cantón, Honduras Global Architecture Brigades chapter at The University of Texas School of Architecture A small health center for the agrarian village of El Cantón in Honduras is being constructed as the implementation of the winning entry in the “Building Health Challenge” design competition staged in January by Global Architecture Bri- gades among its university chapters nationwide. The winning scheme was submitted by the Bri- gades chapter at The University of Texas School of Architecture, whose entry was selected by the mayor and community of El Cantón over designs from 14 other schools, including four additional finalists: Northwestern University, University of Virginia, Catholic University of America, and Virginia Tech. Because of El Cantón’s central location, the new health center will benefit a total of 12 communities, providing access to basic health care to nearly 5,000 people. Sited on steeply sloping donated land near the town center, the structure is conceived as a permanent and sustainable professional health care center that can house a full-time nurse and provide examination rooms for visiting doctors, dentists, and surgeons. The steep slope dictated a split-level approach that separates the public patient waiting areas from the private treatment rooms with a 5-foot shift in eleva- tion. Multiple roof configurations are designed to collect water for primary clinical use as well as for outdoor sinks and bathrooms. Roofs also provide extensive sun cover year-round and accommodate Photovoltaic panels for electrical power. To facilitate low-tech construction, the roof truss is designed with standard sizes and a modest material palette that exploits concrete, wood, and CMU block. Windows were articu- lated to create breezes for ventilation. Creation of the second-level space anticipates a seamless connection to the site’s next planned phase for a community center. Global Architecture Brigades is the largest student-led initiative dedicated to the design and construction of responsible and sustainable architectural solutions in the developing world. A key facet of the program is the opportunity for design students to learn by assisting with construction in the field. The health center project team included: Caitlin McCunney, Francisca Pineda, Hellen Awino, Ian Robertson, Jorge Martinez, Maite Bermudez, Matthew Dubin, Megan Matthews, Melissa Jones, Michaela Wright, Nan Jiang, Parker Thompson, Ryan McCulloch, Tyler Stowell, and Yanjing Chen. IMAGES COURTESY GLOBAL ARCHITECTURE BRIGADES CHAP TER AT UTSOA .