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This Bangladesh hospital wins RIBA International Prize

The Friendship Hospital Satkhira, designed by Kasef Chowdhury/URBANA, built to serve a rural population in the Bangladesh delta has won the RIBA International Awards for Excellence 2021. The community hospital of eighty beds was initiated by a donation of land by a local philanthropist.

In a changing context due to rising sea levels, the once surrounding landscape of grain fields has been replaced by shrimp fisheries. The architect makes this surrounding water play a key role in the building with the design of a rainwater-collecting canal landscaping creatively in between the multiple blocks masterplan to separate inpatient and outpatient departments.

The technology of the hospital is not emphasised but is hidden in the simplicity and the evidence of the design of its plan. The design of the project effectively transmits a sense of protection to the hospital users with shadow corridors around all the blocks and a series of courtyards providing natural ventilation everywhere and regulating the temperature efficiently.

The construction in bricks built in situ celebrates this ordinary material without having to resort to complex technology leading to increased budgets. Local materials by local craftsmanship helps the integration of the building to the native culture and society.

The jury found it refreshing to see a hospital with such a human and natural touch. The Friendship Hospital has a particular relevancy at this period of time as it addresses the issue of unequal access to healthcare throughout the world.

It is a demonstration of how beautiful architecture can be achieved through good design when working with a relatively modest budget and with difficult contextual constraints. This hospital is a celebration of a building dedicated to humans.

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