diebedo francis kere: centre for health and social advancement, burkina faso
diebedo francis kere: centre for health and social advancement, burkina faso diebedo francis kere: centre for health and social advancement, burkina faso
may 23, 2013
diebedo francis kere: centre for health and social advancement, burkina faso

‘centre de sainte et de promotion sociale’ by diebedo francis kere, laongo, burkina faso
all images courtesy of diebedo francis kere




the original idea to build an opera house in one of the world’s poorest countries led to the creation of the opera village in laongo, burkina faso –
a development undertaken by architect diebedo francis kere that has provided the community with medical, educational, residential,
and cultural opportunities. the latest addition to the village, an infirmary called the ‘centre for health and social advancement’ provides health
care for the general public in a structure  made of local material and labor that expresses the beauty of a contemporary interpretation of
vernacular design. the center is located just down the hill from the village, exposing a sense of scale as the low-lying building is seen at the
foreground of an expansive savanna.


the infirmary is made up of three parts – dentistry, gynecology and obstetrics, and a general health unit – organized in square buildings
around a central waiting room with an outer wall that creates two large outdoor courtyards with shaded seating areas. each individual
volume also contains an interior courtyard, an architectonic expression that manifests itself as much in plan as it does in elevation.
the outer walls are dotted with an array of small strategically-placed windows conceived as compositional picture frames that give the
patients varied views of the exterior whether they be lying down in a bed, sitting, or standing, complete with a fly screen and either a glass
pane or a metal shutter. 



construction of the surrounding ground plane with exposed stone foundation



the construction also retains the local characteristics of burkina faso. the primary building materials used are clay, BTC brick (compressed
clay brick), and laterite stone around a concrete foundation. each building contains a double-wall system whereby the outer envelope is made
of hollow concrete bricks covered in clay plaster and the inner layer is composed of BTC brick. this construction strategy provides the
necessary water-proofing membrane and frees the low-pitched corrugated roof structure – mimicking the gentle forms of two distant hills –
from having to overhang which would have compromised the aesthetic composition of the volumes and would have pushed the project wildly over budget.



exterior facade with various square windows



facade construction
image © till groener



clay cricks used throughout the ground and wall constuction



exterior courtyard with covered peripheral walkways and brightly colored slender columns





image © till groener



exterior wall construction
image © severin sobgo



construction of the BTC ground plane



entry sequence onto the site





image © till groener



approach from the opera village



bird’s eye view



local labor
image © till groener







full article here



project info:



completion year: under construction, opening mid 2013
gross floor area: 1.340m²
client: festspielhaus afrika ggmbh

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francis kere (17 articles)