The AIA Healthcare Design jury was looking for projects that "help solve aesthetic, civic, urban and social problems while also being functional and sustainable," describing this building as “friendly” and “elegant in its simplicity and use of local materials like the glazed masonry block.”
The design for the first of these facilities takes inspiration from the stands of banana plants found on the site in Kyabirwa, a rural village near the equator in Uganda. The solar panels collect sun and provide shade, much like the surrounding banana plants. The solar array shelters and powers the simple modular brick facility beneath.
The building is composed of three functional elements; a reception pavilion and a courtyard waiting area for patients’ families, an intermediate pavilion for pre-op and post-op activities, and a sterile pavilion with two operating rooms and related support spaces.
The facility provides access to surgical treatments not available to this community before, as well as training for nurses and surgeons on quality surgical care. The medical staff is also supported by telemedicine links to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, with real-time operating room video conferencing.