the ‘ross langdon health education centre’ is a small community hall located in the village of mannya in rakai, south-western uganda. the centre was designed by ross langdon, a young australian architect who, together with his wife and unborn child, was among the victims of the 2013 westgate shopping mall attack in nairobi, kenya. in his short career spanning across australia, the UK and east africa, ross left behind a multitude of designs, all specifically tailored to location, climate, materials and users, and driven by a passion for ‘chameleon architecture’.
following ross’ death, the client, the cotton on foundation from australia, approached uganda-based studio FH architects to complete the design in-keeping with langdon’s vision. felix holland, principal architect at studio FH and personal friend of ross, assembled a group of dedicated designers and builders who set about deciphering the original design intentions. ‘as good as we can tell in his absence, ross envisioned the health education centre as a small pavilion, entirely inward-looking and made of the most basic of building materials available in southern uganda: eucalyptus poles as the main structure with clay brick infills and clay tile floors,’ says felix holland of studio FH.
the building is made from locally sourced materials
the building provides space for about 150 people, who sit on simple clay tile steps, and a speaker, who stands on a small elevated platform. adjacent to the main hall is a room for private meetings and a store. at the front of the structure, a walkway covered by a pergola provides shade for both informal gatherings and relaxation.
‘there are no windows, and instead the building envelop filters light in various ways; perforations in the brickwork, a gap between walls and roof, a high-level roof vent with skylight and ‘liters of light’ illuminating the stage area,’ continues holland. ‘the roof cover is made of zinc-al roof sheets supported by eucalyptus trusses, and the ceiling is made of purpose-designed handmade ‘mukeka’ reed mats.’
the scheme features clay tile floors
the brick structure has no windows
perforations in the brickwork bring light inside the design
a high-level roof vent illuminates the stage area
the ceiling is made of purpose-designed handmade ‘mukeka’ reed mats
the building provides space for about 150 people
a walkway covered by a pergola provides shade
adjacent to the main hall is a room for private meetings
the canopy is made from zinc-al roof sheets
design architect: ross langdon
implementing architect: studio FH architects
structural engineer: MBW consulting
quantity surveyor: dudley kasibante and partners
contractor: CMD investments
developer: cotton on foundation
photography: will boase
location: mannya, uganda
area: 260 sqm
project year: 2016