Last month, Perkins+Will took home two of the four National AIA Healthcare Design Awards and one of them will have one of the biggest impacts on healthcare that Kenya has ever seen. The 446,700-square-foot Kenya Women and Children's Wellness Centre in Nairobi will handle some of the most challenging public health issues in Africa. Perkins+Will partnered with the James R Jordan Foundation to plan and design this state-of-the-art facility, and it will be complete by December of 2013.
This new wellness centre is a facility made up of multiple interconnected program elements, which provide a holisitic approach to well-being for the people of Nairobi. The main elements of the facility include a Gender Violence Recovery Center(GVRC), a women’s and children’s outpatient clinic, a 170-bed inpatient hospital, a learning center, a family Village (hostel) and a forensic laboratory. The idea is that these individual pieces will work together to create a whole new style of medicine for this area of Africa. Not only will patients be treated, but there are areas to address the families that travel to see their love ones receive help.
With Kenya having a temperate equatorial climate, the building was designed to respond to the unique daylighting and ventilation concerns that arise from heat and prolonged sunlight exposure. Therefore, the orientation of the buildings was one of the biggest design concerns. The Wellness Centre’s series of individual buildings were oriented east-west to minimize the building’s heat gain. Overhangs on the north and south facades shade the building from excessive sun exposure, while operable windows in these facades allowed for natural ventilation. The building also glissades down the rolling site opening the building to views to the north and buffering sound to the south.
The Kenya Women and Children’s Wellness Centre is a building that not only distinguishes itself through the incredible care it provides the community, but also for the social and environmental responsibility that the facility’s designers took when considering how this building will serve Nairobi. Families will have a safe place to stay on the campus, the institute will leverage the world-class facilities as educational tools, and the building will be more energy efficient due to smart planning. There is so much to say about this building, but two words can speak volumes from the public it will serve: thank you.