architecture for humanity competition 2008

the design above was submitted by ruchika modi, priyamwada singh and me for the 2008 architecture for humanity challenge. the text accompanying the design can be found in the comments.


Blogger Nummer 5 said...

Consider the striated site. The strategy which has allowed a social occupation of the land thus far now provokes yet another tectonic organization. Our proposal insinuates itself over three terraces contiguous with the site of the current clinic. Each striation contains a specific programmatic zone – Telecommunication Hub and Quarters, Mother and Child Aagan (courtyard), and Medical Clinic and Outreach Base. The three together, while serving the functions outlined by Nyaya Health for its new facility, anticipate the NGO’s larger social agenda.

The Telecommunication Hub and Quarters borrows its language from local architecture. It is a concrete structure painted blue, with wooden beams and a slate roof. Insulation is the key to maintaining a comfortable, yet low-energy consumptive building. Based on models found in other temperate, mountainous regions, we propose a low-cost, low-tech alternative. The concrete walls are faced with four inches of compacted materials such as saw dust, wood shavings, paper and plastic garbage like bottles and bags. This is sealed with plaster and lath. If readily available and acceptable to the client, cow dung mixed with the right amount of earth and clay makes a strong and thermally effective plaster. When comparing thermal conductivity of common rural building materials, 1 foot mud wall = 2 feet of concrete = 4 feet of stone = 1.5 inches of saw dust = 1 inch of Thermocol / rockwool insulation, etc. The structure would follow a `natural’ cycle of erosion and renewal as new plaster would be applied periodically. The floor slabs are lined with slate, thereby reducing the use of cement while creating thermal mass. The geometry of the striated roof creates vertical slits that enable natural lighting and ventilation. The flat section carries a homemade solar water heater, which would cost about 5,600 NPR per 100 liters. In comparison, a commercial one would cost over 40,000 NPR for the same performance. The low cost solar heater utilizes a bent aluminium sheet painted black to absorb solar heat and a greenhouse plastic cover to capture it. When filled with water in the morning, it can heat 100 liters up to 45°C by noon. Another way the building conserves energy is by providing solar cookers on a south-facing balcony directly across from the kitchen.

The multi-purpose / break room on the ground floor opens out into the Mother and Child Aangan. This court functions as a fragment of the terraced land, condensing the contours to form an amphitheater and social space. We envision this as a gathering place for the empowerment of women through various NGO-run programs. Here the landscape and architecture merge to create a secure environment with access to health professionals and an outdoor community kitchen. This could instigate various literacy programs as well as cottage industries. The contained Aangan spills out into a defined public space directly accessible from the road. This could function as a venue for community Health Melas and other festivities.

We extend the program of the existing clinic by proposing a mobile unit. The two together occupy the Medical Clinic and Outreach Base zone. A simple tractor and trolley assembly with a make-shift container could transport medical supplies and professionals to remote and needy areas.

Consider, then, this proposal as a prototype. It can anticipate its own growth as it continues to spread across more terraces, creating an open-ended campus condition. Concurrently, it could be interpreted as the archetypical model for other such remote areas. The specific program, architectural form and landscape could vary. What would remain constant is the attitude that the collectively inherited unconscious can be accessed through a thorough and nuanced understanding of the land.

9:13 vorm.  

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