Remote Bangladesh hospital named world's best new building
Following the unveiling of its shortlist last November, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has now revealed the winner of its prestigious International Prize. A rural Bangladeshi hospital has been declared the world's best new building for its superb design and huge contribution to the local community.
The biennial International Prize celebrates buildings from around the world that demonstrate design excellence and social impact. On both points, the Friendship Hospital, Satkhira clearly excels. The project, which was designed by Kashef Chowdhury/Urbana and commissioned by Non-Governmental Organization Friendship, is located in the remote water-laden landscape of southwest Bangladesh.
The brick hospital's overall form is inspired by the country's traditional hut villages and features a canal cutting through the length of the site, physically separating the inpatients and outpatients wards, and helping cool the immediate area during the hot summers. Since much of the surrounding water is saline, rainwater is collected and stored for use.
This focus on simple and low-energy solutions to the challenges of the local climate and conditions continues inside. The hospital's buildings are very open and multiple courtyards and carefully placed corridors promote shading and ventilation where appropriate (some areas are closed-off for privacy), providing comfortable spaces for patients to recuperate.
"Friendship Hospital is an exemplar of thoughtful and creative design of a building of great importance and scale, built within a modest budget, and crafted with the local community and its natural surroundings in mind," said RIBA President Simon Allford. "Kashef Chowdhury/Urbana has created innovative, clear, refined, economical and delightful architecture with social impact – providing essential healthcare services in the rural area and addressing the increasing effects of the climate emergency. I am delighted that it is being celebrated as the International Prize 2021 winner."
The RIBA International Prize was established in 2016 to highlight the best architecture from around the world. Its previous winners are UTEC by Grafton Architects and Children Village by Gustavo Utrabo and Petro Duschenes, et al.