The reliance on local material turned out to be a huge advantage because the project faced unforeseen logistical problems due to the 2015 earthquake and Blockade. However, the four-year construction was delayed by just six months because it did not rely too much on bricks, steel and other imported material.
The facility has a rainwater harvesting system, treats its wastewater and has a network of greywater-irrigated terraces and bioswales to control erosion and recharge the acquifer. A 100kw solar array on the roof meets most of the hospital’s electricity needs, even powering the facility’s only air conditioning unit in the surgical ward.
“It was a deliberate design decision to work with the natural environment as much as possible and also to address the cultural context,” says Tyler Survant from Sharon Davis Design in New York, which also conceptualised the unique Women’s Opportunity Centre in Rwanda. “We had to plan for a different kind of hospital from the West: here you have patients and relatives who have travelled for days on foot to get here.”