The 465,000-square-foot facility houses approximately 400 beds and a broad range of specialty departments. The new hospital replaces a 191-bed, wood-framed building constructed in 1928. Designed to be as efficient and as self-sustaining as possible, the new building offers passive cooling, natural ventilation in all non-high-risk areas, rainwater harvesting and reuse, solar water heating, daylight harvesting, shading, and locally sourced light-colored exterior materials to reduce solar gain.
It was also designed for optimal resilience: the building had to be able to operate independently of high technology, electricity, and municipally supplied water. The transport of patients is facilitated by a covered outdoor walkable ramp in of the event of power outages; natural gas-powered generators provide energy back-up; and supplies of fresh water are stored on-site in cisterns in case of drought or water contamination.
The team had to think differently when it came to designing this hospital in Ghana because of the region’s unique challenges. It can be easy to take for granted the sophisticated nature of the architectural, engineering, and construction industry of developed nations, which typically allows firms to achieve sustainability and resilience through customized high technology. In Ghana, where maintaining and operating complex building systems is not necessarily easy, the team had to achieve the same high performance with low technology, age-old strategies, and calculated simplicity. The project received the first LEED for Healthcare, Silver, certification on the continent of Africa.
The design of the building’s exterior—from its diverse patterns, layers, and vibrant colors—invokes the Kente cloth, a traditional Ghanian cloth weave and an iconic symbol of African culture. In fact, concepts of culture, identity, and sense of family—strong pillars of Ghanaian society and history—were incorporated throughout the design of the facility.