Perkins+Will designs 'an environmentally and socially-responsive wellness village' for Nairobi
Located adjacent to the campus of United States International University in Nairobi Kenya, the Kenya Women and Children’s Wellness Centre will be a state of the art healthcare facility which will help to achieve the foundation’s mission of health, well-being, counseling and education for an underserved community. The key pieces include a 170-bed hospital, outpatient clinics for women and children, an institute of learning, gender counseling centre and a family hostel. These elements were specifically tailored to Kenya with respect to social customs, local construction practices and environmental concerns.
Because patients of the Wellness Centre will be from small villages surrounding Nairobi, the center had to be familiar in scale and non-institutional in character in order to create a less intimidating and familiar environment. This was achieved by burying the larger scale portions of the diagnostic facilities of the hospital below grade and organising the remaining program as a series of village like pavilions and courtyards along a central circulation path. An essential social component of the Centre is the Gender Violence Recovery Centre which was deliberately secluded from the hospital entry for the privacy of those using the facility.
The pavilions employ typical construction methods of Kenya and are adjusted to the local climatic conditions. These east /west orientated bars employ a simple poured in place concrete construction system. This framework is infilled with a lightweight and porous metal screening and operable window system that creates an environmental layer for shading. The stepped massing opens the bars up to prevailing breezes which assist in promoting cross ventilation. A corrugated metal roof provides building enclosure and also extends over the courtyards to create shaded exterior rooms for patients and visiting families.