FIRST LOOK: Panzi Hospital Mother And Baby Unit

White Arkitekter (Gothenburg, Sweden) has designed a new mother and baby unit to be built on the existing Panzi Hospital site in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo. The hospital is headed by Dr. Denis Mukwege, who was awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize.

The new design, which will be the first phase of a long-term development masterplan at Panzi Hospital, will focus on addressing issues with overcrowding and creating a holistic care environment to reduce maternal and post-natal mortality rates and support positive birth experiences for women in the region.

The design firm used a participatory design process, based on a combination of first-hand knowledge, practice experience, and current research across architecture, healthcare, and sustainability, as well as a variety of methods to engage patients and staff, including surveys, workshops, sketching, and discussion.

The easy-to-navigate design balances the importance of cleanliness and efficiency with care and consideration for the patient and the staff, including an attractive design, gradation between private and public areas, easy orientation, and access to natural daylight.

With a large courtyard serving as the main entrance via internal pathways, the labor ward and neonatal unit are housed in a one-story intensive care block, while patient rooms and outpatient departments are located in two-story modular pavilions. The patient wards are designed as small units of 8-16 patients with patient rooms featuring one to two beds. Each unit will have access to green external courtyards for recreation and to aid with rehabilitation.

Climate and resource efficiency were key considerations for the design scheme. Located in an area with unstable electricity supply, the hospital will integrate solar panels into the design along with collector panels for water heating, which heats water for hygiene purposes. Using locally sourced materials wherever possible, the simple modular building forms are designed for minimal upkeep and to withstand earthquakes

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