The Ross Langdon Health Education Center is a beautiful small community hall built from regionally sourced building materials in Uganda. Eucalyptus poles and windowless perforated clay brick walls dominate the structure, while dozens of 'Liter of Light' plastic bottles filled with water illuminate the interior. The project was designed by young Australian architect Ross Langdon who, together with his wife and unborn child, was amongst the victims of the Westgate attacks in Nairobi in 2013. Following his death, the client, Cotton On Foundation from Australia, approached Uganda-based Studio FH Architects with a request to complete the design and help bring Ross' idea to life.
The community center is located in a village of Mannya in Rakai, South-western Uganda. It provides enough space for about 150 people, with simple clay tile steps to sit on and a small elevated platform from where speakers can address their community. Adjacent to the hall is a room for private meetings and a small store. A walkway covered by a pergola provides shelter and forms a space where people can meet and relax.
Ross envisioned the center as a small pavilion structure made of the most basic available materials. Eucalyptus poles were used for the main structure, with clay brick infills and tile floors. The building has no windows. Instead, the porous brick envelope, skylights and ‘Liter of Light’ solar powered DIY lamps let light in from different directions and illuminate the stage area. The wall is covered in zinc-al roof sheets supported by eucalyptus trusses, and the ceiling is made of purpose-designed handmade ‘Mukeka’ reed mats. What a wonderful tribute to Ross and gift to the local community.
Photos by Will Boase