Mount Sinai Kyabirwa Ambulatory Surgical Facility
Category: Built - less than $25 million (construction cost)
Tucked into a remote village along the equator in Uganda, but intrinsically linked to New York’s Mount Sinai Healthcare system, this prototype for an independent, self-sustaining ambulatory surgical care center provides much needed access to care. Simple in its approach and born of careful analysis, the design eschews overly complex, costly, and redundant systems found in urban hospitals to provide cost-effective health care.
The site, in the village of Kyabirwa, sits hundreds of miles from the nearest full-service hospital, and no paved roads service the region. This surgical facility is a prototype—all systems will be fully evaluated in late fall 2020 to form a design brief for additional locations—and the hope is to repeat it in other resource-deprived areas. Given the difficulty in accessing the site, the team opted for the fewest possible number of materials, all selected for their durability. The locally handmade red clay bricks and cladding tiles were crafted from red clay excavated near the site and fired in a local kiln.
At just 8,000 square feet, the building draws inspiration from the banana trees native to the region, the leaves of which both gather the sun and provide shade to those below. The facility’s solar array functions in much the same way, powering the modular brick building beneath it. The curving and symmetrical forms provide an atmosphere akin to wandering through a banana forest, a feeling that extends into the interior. In addition to solar energy, the self-sufficient facility captures rainwater and boasts a direct fiber optic connection to New York, which allows for real-time training and surgical consultations.
“This friendly building is elegant in its simplicity and use of local materials like the glazed masonry block,” said the jury. “The unique solar canopy provides shading and recalls the surrounding tree land; it’s a nice touch of biomimicry. These details make the building feel very of the place.” - Jury comment
Delivering a new facility rife with 21st century technology to a place where little infrastructure exists required deep engagement with the surrounding community to ensure the building ultimately felt welcoming. The material selection, as well as the facility’s engagement with the landscape and its open courtyards, is the direct result of the team’s process.
a place where little infrastructure exists required deep engagement with the surrounding community to ensure the building ultimately felt welcoming. The material selection, as well as the facility’s engagement with the landscape and its open courtyards, is the direct result of the team’s process.