‘World’s Best New Building’ Award Given To Bangladesh Hospital With Zigzag Canal
By Mikelle Leow, 27 Jan 2022
A no-frills brick hospital with only 80 beds in a rural part of Bangladesh has clinched a prize for the best new building in the world, according to a report by the Guardian. Friendship Hospital, as it is called, has a rainwater-collecting canal that meanders through the facility’s grounds to not only generate clean water but also counter the area’s rising sea levels.
Designed by architect Kashef Chowdhury for non-governmental organization Friendship, the low-cost building in Satkhira is the winner of the 2021 Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) International Awards for Excellence. Water runs in the veins of this design; the hospital accommodates the rising groundwater that has taken over the once-dry surrounding grain fields with a zigzagging canal that connects its corridors.
Due to climate change, locals had to convert the bordering landscape into shrimp fisheries.
Chowdhury’s design learns to thrive from these effects. The canal’s water flows into two storage tanks, allowing the rainwater to be harvested and recycled.
In addition, the waterway keeps the hospital cool while creating a divider between departments—there is no need to build barriers at all.
View this post on Instagram
The structure itself is built from locally-sourced bricks and bears a cozy feel to emanate the spirit of the village. “When somebody is ill or needs care, one of the most important things is the mental aspect of it, not just the physical care,” describes Chowdhury. “ I think the kind of spaces you inhabit during treatment—with a view of water and trees, the sounds of birds, the feel of a breeze—goes a long way towards healing.”
Drawing from natural water and daylight, while relying on the strategic positioning of its brick columns, the hospital does without air conditioning (except for in operating and delivery rooms), or artificial light during the day. All this has minimized building costs, keeping to a modest budget of under US$2 million.
Friendship Hospital is the first permanent, “land hospital” commissioned by the NGO, which has built several floating hospitals with the help of the architect. According to the Guardian, being onsite, the hospital has the potential to assist thousands of villagers all year round.
In response to receiving the award, the architect details: “I am encouraged that this may inspire more of us to commit to an architecture of care both for humanity and for nature, to rise collectively to the urgencies that we face today on a planetary scale.”
More related news