The Butaro Hospital, in the Burera District of Rwanda is comprised of a number of buildings set on a hilltop location. Principles of natural ventilation and passive solar design help moderate temperatures and reduce energy use within the hospital. Largely though, the hospital’s design was focused on mitigation and reduction of the transmission of airborne diseases. MASS collaborated with Partners in Health and Harvard Medical Center to develop and implement systems, like overall layout, patient and staff flow, and natural ventilation to minimize disease transmission.
Local laborers and craftsmen were utilized in the construction of the hospital, which not only supported the local economy, but also gave the local people a sense of ownership of the new facility. Local volcanic rock from the Virunga Mountain Chain was used to construct many of the facility’s walls and now the local masonry team is in especially high demand for their skills. The use of local materials and labor helped reduce the overall cost of construction, which was two-thirds of what a hospital of this size would typically cost in Rwanda.