GROWING CANOPIES

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY | MSAUD | SPRING 2012 | SAGI GOLAN, SCOTT ARCHER, VANESSA ESPAILLAT, SAMARTH DAS

*Growing Canopies has been selected for the 2016 AIA Emerging Professionals Exhibit in Washington DC

The fast growing population of Kumasi is putting immense pressure on several key infrastructures, natural ecology and most importantly the health of the city. This project focuses on the concept of ‘holistic health’ in the development of the city of Kumasi. The strategy is tested within two sites — a pilot project in waste management within a new peri-urban municipality of Asokore Mampong; and a rural site that encompasses the design of a specialist hospital.

Click here for "Re-envisioning Health in Kumasi - Spacial Strategies" publication 

HOLISTIC HEALTH

The comprehensive system comprises various elements of holistic health, such as the health care system, traditional herbal medicines, aspects of eco-therapy, allopathic pharmaceutical industry as well as waste management. The project aims to evolve a strategy that synthesizes these elements in order to have a meaningful impact on the overall health of the city of Kumasi. 

Kumasi’s landscape consists of a series of ecological corridors that transverse the city, creating green spinal connections through its fabric. These lands fall under the traditional Chief’s authority but are presently threatened by sprawl and encroachment of housing, informal commerce, agriculture, and industry. These corridors can become key areas where development of productive canopies along with sustainable harvesting safeguard the same while contributing to the region’s economy. The pharmaceutical industry has been noted as an essential area of investment for the city of Kumasi. Favorable political policies coupled with an immense human knowledge capital emerging from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology provide the city with competitive advantages in developing this industry locally.

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ECO-CORRIDORS

Severe environmental degradation and frequent epidemics give the city the urgency to develop new treatments and drugs. The eco-corridors are also threatened by poor waste management. Providing a new system of collection as well as co-composting household and human wastes can begin to reduce the contamination of the city’s waterways. Currently filled with various types of waste, these waterways are distributing water-borne disease through direct human contact, dispersed agriculture irrigation and fostered mosquito proliferation. The cleaner irrigation water and newly produced compost would create higher yields for farmers as well as diminishing the spread of these diseases.

The increase in demands for traditional herbal medicines suggest cultivation of an industry focused on the production and distribution of these herbs — 85% of which grow within the region’s semi-deciduous climate. A formal distribution corridor along the Tamale-Accra road, along with the upgrading of the airport and a new ring road proposal, places Kumasi strategically within the nation as well as the sub- Saharan region.

The natural canopy in Kumasi’s semi-deciduous forests hosts over a 150 species of native plants, which have a variety of nutritional, herbal, medicinal, and construction uses. Environmental degradation and unsustainable harvesting have made many of these plants extremely rare, and demand for these plants continues to rise in local markets. With the cooperation of both the traditional and political authorities, these newly productive lands will be secured by the herbal cooperatives, freeing the governmental powers from the insurmountable task of patrolling and enforcing protection zones.

Strategies of re mediation and prevention should be employed throughout Kumasi’s eco-corridors to protect this important infrastructure. A system of bioswales, co-composting, and herbal production can be used as a measure to prevent informal encroachment into these protected lands.

ASOKORE MAMPONG

Asokore Mampong, the first municipality outside of Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) boundaries, currently faces complex land tenure ship, environmental degradation, together with poor systems of service management and provision. The eco-corridor strategy is based on an environmental re mediation plan, which restores the important natural canopy, replenishes the eroded soil with co-composting process of human and organic waste, collects and cleans the rainwater runoff and sets up an economy of medicinal herbal production. This system is devised through a series of wet-bottom ponds and terraced bio-swales that slow down rainwater runoff flow and naturally cleanse it before releasing it to the waterway. After the water and waste system has been put in place, the medicinal plant cooperatives begin the process of selective harvest of medicinal plants, completely transforming the waterways into productive eco-corridors for the municipality.

WAHF HOSPITAL

Click here for WAHF Specialty Hospital Report

With extremely high maternal and child mortality in Ghana and a severe brain drain in Kumasi’s health system, WAHF hospital has an opportunity to become a leading hospital in Kumasi locally, and internationally in the sub-Saharan region. By focusing on these health issues and providing specialty care, while retaining and training skilled doctors. WAHF creates a holistic approach to the role of the hospital. This holistic approach is not only programmatic but also uses herbal medicine as part of the healing process by developing codes of dosage and usage in the research and development center within the hospital.

The hospital plays an important role in its relationship to the town of Juaben, where women from the town will be employed in the herbal and therapeutic center. The town itself will cater to visitors that come to the hospital by providing lodging and dining facilities. The hospital’s economic model provides health care for high income patients, who in turn will subsidize lower income patients and providing funding for the upgrade of the existing district hospital.

DESIGN STRATEGIES

Comprehensive understanding of the functioning of a hospital through various case studies led us to evolve a plan that deals effectively with issues of efficiency, adjacency of programs, privacy and security. Through each stage of its development, this plan has constantly aimed at integrating the formal programs of the hospital with the healing aspect of natural landscapes. The courtyard becomes a formal element of organization and orientation for users, setting up a rhythm of movement through the hospital. It allows natural light to flood the corridors and rooms while facilitating cross ventilation of air.

An organizational system of topography, a service core, public and private corridors and inner courtyard, along with a modular architectural canopy, creates an efficient strategy for an incremental growth of the hospital from 50 to 250 beds.

HOSPITAL PLAN

Comprehensive understanding of the functioning of a hospital through various case studies led us to evolve a plan that deals effectively with issues of efficiency, adjacency of programs, privacy and security. 

The plan organizes the most public elements of the hospital— primarily the diagnostic and consultation centers, to be accessible easily to the majority of visitors. This initial out-patient department leads into a more private and secured in-patient facility with operation theaters, single patient rooms and wards for men, women and children. Stressing on the importance of herbal medicine, a therapeutic healing center is located towards the end of the site, along with short-term hotel rooms for patients’ families. Through each stage of its development, this plan has constantly aimed at integrating the formal programs of the hospital with the healing aspect of natural landscapes. The courtyard becomes a formal element of organization and orientation for users, setting up a rhythm of movement through the hospital. It allows natural light to flood the corridors and rooms while facilitating cross ventilation of air.

HOSPITAL ENTRANCE

The entrance facade of the hospital becomes a key feature in asserting the presence and identity of the hospital on the main Ejisu-Juaben road. The image of the hospital as a leading center for training as well as research and development is asserted by locating these programs on this edge. The building sets back to a large fore-court that receives pedestrians. The drop-off area for vehicles is beyond a controlled entry point restricting the gathering of informal hawkers around such areas. Publicly accessible programs such as the pharmacy and the blood bank are also located along this edge, for users who only need these services.

HOSPITAL PERFORMANCE

In the design of the hospital, we use the concept of an architectural canopy that integrates the building with the ecological canopy. This new architectural canopy provides shade, facilitates ventilation, collects rainwater and hosts solar panels oriented for capturing maximum sunlight. The hospital is envisioned to be made of a composite structure of local materials such as landcrete, concrete and bamboo. The project also capitalizes on the heavy rainfall and strong sunlight by collection in storage tanks for irrigation purposes as well as storing solar energy in invertors for small uses.

A GROWING HOSPITAL

Phasing is an important piece of the hospital Since it will rely Heavily on donations. The design of the hospital implements phasing a formal strategy of the hospital in term of its stages of construction and the material of construction. In terms of the physical incremental nature of the hospital the first stage will consist of the section closest to the road in order to maintain connectivity to Kumasi region. It is suggested to incorporate Bamboo from the initial stages of construction since it could grow on site and be used as building materials when needed. This further emphasizes the meaning of a growing hospital. 

The canopy is the visual identity of the hospital and an element that unifies the various parts of the building. Primarily a space frame that allows for the variations in the roof, the structure is comprised of bamboo members with pre-fabricated metal joinery. Modular sections allow for the extension of the roof along with the future expansion of the hospital.