Medical housing using containers creates template for African developments
The Salam Centre in Soba, Khartoum houses what could be used as a template for modern African development in its newly constructed Medical Housing Compound. Constructed using ninety five 20ft-containers for housing and seven 40ft-containers for a cafeteria, the integration of local materials and high design level of retrofitting expresses a new level of affordable, sustainable architecture in the third world.
All of the containers used were those discarded on the building site of the Salam Centre itself. To the architects, Italian firm Studio tamassociati whose motto is 'socially responsible design', it seemed like the simplest solution to use the containers to provide required international staff housing.
The resultant housing compound, placed beside the hospital in the surroundings of the Nile river, is realized around a great courtyard full of mango trees. Each of the lodgings is 20 sq m and is realized with one and a half containers; lodgings are composed of bedroom, bathroom and a small veranda on the court side. The total delivery cost for the 60 lodgings and cafeteria at 468 €/sq m was 1.08million€. Comparatively this is around 150€/sq m cheaper than starter housing in the UK.
With average high temperatures reaching 41 degrees centigrade in the hottest month of May, the architects innovated using verandas on each property with bamboo solar shades, allowing breezes to pass through. Furthermore the containers are insulated with a 'layer system'. Inside the container 5 cm insulating panels have been placed. The outside skin is realized with a second insulated roof and a bamboo brise-soleil panel system. In this way the sunrays never hit the containers. A huge energy saving is made without the need for powered air conditioning and the sun is utilised via solar panels to supply hot water for the entire compound.