a+r Architekten, hospital-shelter in Myanmar

a+r Architekten, hospital-shelter in Myanmar

To reach Magyzin, a village of a hundred souls overlooking the Bay of Bengal, in Myanmar, takes several hours. From Pathein, the regional capital, you take a dirt road that leads into the rainforest. Then you have to continue by boat. As long as it’s not the rainy season, a period when the roads and waterways are impassable and the connections with the communities in the area are interrupted. Its remote location has certainly saved the region’s community from uncontrolled urbanisation. But it has also created issues of supply and access to services for inhabitants, especially in the field of medical care.

The German NGO Projekt Burma attempted to make up for this deficiency by financing the construction of a twenty-bed hospital in the village. Designed by the firm a + r Architekten in Stuttgart, the new structure stands on higher ground than the town, and can also serve as a shelter in the event of storms or tsunamis. While this dual purpose seems to be a nod to the structures of architect Kashef Chowdhury in Bangladesh, the hospital’s architectural language – which is tied to local construction techniques – certainly owes a lot to the strategies adopted in recent years by architects such as Francis Kéré and Anna Heringer.

The central courtyard of the hospital. (ph. Oliver Gerhartz)

The reinforced concrete structure of the hospital reinterprets the more classic structural Burmese wood frame, filled in with bricks and adjustable shutters. The shape of the building, which opens onto a covered central courtyard, also alludes to a local typology. In addition to favouring the natural ventilation of the rooms, essential for a healthcare facility.

The hospital is composed to two volumes, connected by a covered walkway. (ph. Oliver Gerhartz)

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