David Adjaye unveils Rwanda cancer treatment centre design
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David Adjaye unveils designs for children's cancer treatment centre in Rwanda

British architect David Adjaye has revealed plans for a 100-bed paediatric cancer centre in Rwanda, East Africa.

The architect, who was born in Tanzania, is designing the Gahanga International Children's Cancer Hospital for a four-hectare site in Gahanga, a region to the south of Rwandan capital Kigali.

David Adjaye pediatric cancer centre in Gahanga Rwanda

In an interview with Dezeen editor-in-chief Marcus Fairs last month, Adjaye said the hospital would be the first of its kind anywhere in Africa.

"It's really important that techniques that are very commonplace in the West are also transferrable to Africa, and that lessons learned on the ground in Africa inform the practice," he explained.

David Adjaye pediatric cancer centre in Gahanga Rwanda

The project was commissioned by the Eugene Gasana Jr Foundation – a charity set up to improve access to cancer treatment for children in the country. It was co-founded by Rwandan ambassador Eugène-Richard Gasana and named after his son, who received cancer treatment in America.

The hospital will provide residential accommodation for patients and staff. "The building aims to promote healing and recovery for the children and their families," said a statement from Adjaye Associates.

David Adjaye pediatric cancer centre in Gahanga Rwanda

"Most importantly, the brief called for a space that adds dignity and hope to the lives of the children, hence elements like the views, lush planting and access to natural light have been key."

Rectangular in plan, the three-storey building will feature a geometric facade that draws on the region's traditional Imigongo art form, which involves applying a surface of cow dung to walls before adding graphic patterns in black, white and red.

David Adjaye pediatric cancer centre in Gahanga Rwanda

Some sections of the facade will be covered by a sun screen with triangular perforations, which increase or decrease in density depending on the orientation.

"The metallic screens sparkle in the sunlight and in time will weather and blend with the planting – so that the vegetation grows in and around them, giving the sense of a living, organic building," said the studio.

Wards will be situated around the edge of the three garden courtyards that will provide outdoor access for patients and staff, as well as bringing natural light into the centre of the building.

David Adjaye pediatric cancer centre in Gahanga Rwanda

Adjaye now has an office in Ghana, as well as his studios in London and New York. Other projects he is working on in Africa include a hotel and apartment block in Johannesburg and an office campus in Uganda.

"There's this dialogue flowing, and that's very important in terms of being able to elevate another generation of architects coming up that can be trained in Africa to be able to have access to material and to be able to express their creativity," said the architect.

David Adjaye
"It's really important that techniques that are very commonplace in the West are also transferrable to Africa," says David Adjaye. Photograph is by Dezeen

Construction on the hospital is set to begin later this year and complete in 2017.