Our studio of ten students, during the fall of 2013, was charged with the task of developing two housing schemes for the Malamulo Hospital in rural Malawi. The goal was to deliver a set of construction documents for each at the end of the semester. We met this goal through a series of meetings with client representatives, users, and various consultants for environmental strategies, vernacular building methods and cost estimating, and an understanding of local culture.
The design was influenced most heavily by discussions with users- foreign doctors who volunteer in rural sub-Saharan medical clinics for several years at a time. With these doctors, we develped an understanding of daily life and the need for a home that serves as a retreat in the midst of a chaotic time.
We were charged with balancing cultural practices and expectations, understanding local building practices and available materials, and working within the context of fundraising for a multi-phased build.
To engage doctors and hospital faculty with a meaningful living situation, this project seeks to create a sense of home using varying degrees of privacy and community. As the built form responds to the climatic conditions of the site, it becomes a comfortable and cool space to inhabit. As its organization creates space for solitude and for community, it allows users to rest as they need and socialize as they want.
The two houses sit on the site in a way that encourages movement and community between them, creating space for gathering and eating. Between four units and two kitchens, there are opportunities to spend time with neighbors but also to be in quiet personal space. As private spaces, like bedrooms, are buffered by semi-private spaces, like living rooms, they become places of retreat from busy days at the hospital.
After several weeks of research into the culture, climate, and context of the Malamulo Hospital, we began with a nine day individual competition.
This competition board focuses on a series of vignettes that looks at the daily life of a foreign doctor living and working in rural Malawi. The building highlights the need to spend time alone enjoying the landscape, reading in solitude, playing with kids in the community, tending a vegetable garden, and sharing a meal. It requires spaces of a personal scale, in which individuals and families feel at home.
The organization of this design was maintained throughout the final project. Organized around a central shared space, where families could cook and eat together, the home allows for varying degrees of privacy and passive cooling strategies.
The second iteration of the project, in a group of three, developed my competition entry in a way that further understood an appropriate material palette and more specific environmental conditions. It maintains a focus on varying degrees of privacy through private spaces, shared spaces, and public community spaces.
The site approach creates an area of density at the top, allowing terraced gardens along the slope with quieter spaces for individuals or groups to enjoy their environment. The orientation of the buildings harnesses the wind flow on the site and responds appropriately to the sun. The communal space it creates in between enables visiting faculty to engage the local community and provides an atmosphere in which cultures can meet.
The two houses site on the site in a way that encourages movement and community between them, creating space for gathering and eating. Between four units and two kitchens, there are opportunities to spend time with neighbors but also to be in quiet personal space. As private spaces, like bedrooms, are buffered by semi-private spaces, like living rooms, they become places of retreat from busy days at the hospital.
This project was a colloborative effort. While the content shown does reflect my participation in the project, some images shown were produced by team members.