Pragmatism, experimentation and beauty are the terms that describe the project for Emergency's new Center of pediatric surgery excellence in Entebbe, Uganda. The first stone was laid in February 2017 and the completion of the works is expected by the end of the year.
The hospital was designed by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) with TAMassociati and with the collaboration of Milan Ingegneria (structural design), Prisma Engineering (plant design), of the Franco and Simona Giorgetta firm - Landscape architects and GAE Engineering (fire design).
The "healing architecture" is not enough: the beauty must be "scandalous"
The place is exceptional. The purpose also. The pediatric center stands on land surrounded by greenery, not far from the shores of Lake Victoria. "It is in front of the lake, at 1,200 meters above sea level, so in itself it is a healthy place, immersed in the greenery, it really has all the characteristics to be able to also provide that healing beauty that is sought in a hospital," says Giorgio Grandi, the architect and project leader for the Ugandan hospital, a former partner and now a fellow of the RPBW. Although today the concept of «healing architecture» is not just poetry, but supported by scientific evidence, it cannot suffice to describe an Emergency hospital. Thus, even the word beauty could not stand alone, but needed an adjective: "scandalous".
Author of the unusual combination of words - according to Grandi - was Gino Strada, «but it is not a joke, the scandalous beauty is a fundamental value for Emergency's hospital» , the architect underlines.
Claiming the universal right to health is the theme that is realized with the architecture. And, in this context, beauty can only be crucial because equal dignity among human beings, respect, the action of "caring", find the highest expression in the right - also universal - to live in welcoming spaces, comfortable, reassuring, even better if they reflect the local identity. Furthermore, the hospital will also function as a center for higher education for medical and paramedical personnel.
Buildings are born from the earth and they draw energy from the sun. The roof will support 9,800 square meters of photovoltaic panels. 350 trees will be planted which will form the garden in the heart of the complex. This has been made possible "by the industriousness of the friends of Emergency" , says Giorgio Grandi.
The hospital of Entebbe is part of a program that goes beyond the borders of Uganda
The hospital of Entebbe will offer free treatments and will be a reference center for Ugandan patients and for children with surgical needs from all over Africa. It comes from a very ambitious project that goes beyond the borders of Uganda. It all started with Emergency's Salam Center of Excellence in Cardiac Surgery in Khartoum, Sudan, designed by TAMassociati and winner of important awards, such as the Curry Stone Design Prize and the Aga Khan Award for Architecture . The hospital, signed by the study led by Massimo Lepore, Raul Pantaleo and Simone Sfriso,was the first completely free cardiac surgery center in Africa, dedicated to high-level medical and surgical assistance, aimed at children and adults with congenital and acquired heart disease.
Based on that experience, the NGO, in 2008, brought together the health ministers of nine African countries to discuss how to guarantee African citizens the right to free and high-level medicine. From that meeting the Manifesto for a medicine based on human rights was born , which affirms the need to build health systems based on equality, quality and social responsibility. On the basis of these principles, in 2010 the ANME (African Network of Medical Excellence in Africa) was born, which aims to build medical centers of excellence to strengthen the continent's health systems.
The hospital in Uganda responds to these principles. Uganda immediately joined the ANME project and provided the land on which to build the hospital and a loan to cover 20 percent of construction costs.
THE CENTER OF PEDIATRIC EXCELLENCE IN NUMBERS
• The center stands on 122 thousand square meters of land, 35km from the capital Kampala.
• It will have 72 lane beds, 3 operating rooms and all the diagnostic and auxiliary services necessary for its operation, such as the laboratory, the blood bank, the pharmacy, the canteen, the laundry. In view of the arrival of patients from various countries there is also a guest house with 42 beds, dedicated to the little ones and their loved ones.
• At the center of the complex there will be a garden with 350 trees: green is an important element for the recovery and healing of patients.
•9,800 square meters of photovoltaic panels guarantee the hospital's electric autonomy during the day.