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Buro Happold Effectiveness Award 2013 Winner, Butaro, Rwanda

Monday 04 Nov 2013

Butaro Doctor's Housing most effective

Images: MASS Design Group 
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20/11/13 Wm Smith, AIA, San Diego
Although there are few details in the Rwandan Doctor's Housing article, the degree of design and craftsmanship visible in the few pictures available are commendable. I would like to see more history, pictures and details of this work.


MASS Design's Rwandan Doctor's Housing claims Buro Happold Effectiveness Award 

The time has come to announce the winner of the Buro Happold Effectiveness Award - a competition that celebrates designs which have made a positive impact on society. 

The shortlisted entries had demonstrated how their buildings have directly or indirectly benefited their users, the client, the surrounding community and beyond, against one or more of the following criteria: Social, Technological, Environmental, Economic and Productivity. Post-occupancy evaluation survey results and statistics were strongly advantageous.

Our estimable judging panel included Hawkins\Brown Founder Russell Brown, FXFOWLE Managing Partner Guy Geier, Gensler's Maria Nesdale, Stegmeier Consulting Group Founder Diane Stegmeier and Buro Happold's Head of Strategic Development Gavin Thompson.

The Buro Happold Effectiveness Award is a singular competition, and we were presented with a special spread of projects to match and celebrate this crucial aspect of modern architecture. Our extremely strong shortlist covered the triumphant adaptive reuse of office blocks, architecture which actively enriched the locale's musical culture, and graceful, uplifting works of public transport architecture. 

However, despite such a wealth of great entries, it became clear quite early on that the panel was unanimously enamored with one project in particular. Bowling over all judges in its path, the winner of this year's Buro Happold Effectiveness Award is MASS Design Group's Butaro Doctor's Housing in Rwanda

The Butaro Doctor's Housing provides invaluable on-site physician housing in an area where doctor retention is a constant challenge. After opening in 2012, the four beautiful duplexes have inspired dignity, fostered community and fomented sustainability of the Burera District's rural healthcare system. 

Presenting a formidable package of gorgeous imagery, quantitative survey results and evidence of behavioral change, all sitting under a halo of noble aims, MASS Design Group proved with ease that Butaro's presence has benefited the local community enormously. 

The panel was won over by the care and attention paid to the Housing from the ground up - the use of local craftsmen, sustainable, local resources, and even the graceful final touches of interior decor. "There are so many pictures of people doing good things," Brown commented. Nesdale also felt somewhat overwhelmed, exclaiming: "I'm getting goosebumps just reading about this. It fulfils and transcends its purpose with its impact on the local community, training and interaction with the landscape - it's different to anything we've seen today."

Brown added: "We're talking sainthoods! It's a form of social action, now embedded in local story-telling and narrative." Thompson focused on how the project triumphantly tackles the unique effectiveness agenda. "It addresses so many different things," he stated, "in terms of capacity building, functional performance within a tight budget, while still delivering high quality architecture. It's an inspiration." 

So, the heartiest of congratulations to MASS Design Group for providing such a worthy winner. It should truly be celebrated. We would also like to thank every entrant for making this year's Buro Happold Effectiveness Award such a fascinating contest.

Richard Greenan

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