The CBF Women's Health Centre : Page II

The CBF [Centre pour le Bien-être des Femmes] Women's Health Centre (FARE STUDIO)

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The buildings are covered by corrugated aluminium and translucent decking, which allows light to filter into the interior, reducing the need for artificial illumination.

The space between the steel roof and the velarium, the open cavity underneath the platform, together with the exterior openings fitted with operable glass fins, help to improve the natural ventilation of interior spaces, drastically reducing the need for mechanical air conditioning.

The exterior space, similar to the interior, is designed as an open area to be used by the entire community. It is a space of sharing and of information, used to present the themes dealt with by the CBF. Indirect and informal communication is also favored by the organization of small events and public discussions. The garden is a micro environment that surrounds the buildings taking advantage of the shade provided by the building and trees and the humidity produced by the plants.

A layer of grass covers the earth, reducing the effects of erosion, while various species from Western and Sub-Saharan Africa have been planted with the twofold intention of creating shade and promoting the return of autochthonous vegetation.

Temperature control, perhaps the most significant climatic issue, has strongly influenced the overall design. The adopted strategy includes also:

= carefully studied [beneficial] building orientation, reducing the effect of hot wind and taking advantage of mutual over shading
= the shading of heavy material against direct exposure to the sun = extensive use of operable windows
= the separation of enclosed areas by transitional spaces, such as verandas or patios.

Being water and power are not available in the area, the Centre is fully independent, integrating the systematic control of consumption and the self-production of resources, possibly renewable.

Water is provided by a newly drilled and dedicated well.

In order to achieve independence from external sources, photovoltaic cells have been installed along the perimeter wall, reducing the use of the electrical generator.

All this affects both personal behavior and collective responsibility: elimination of mechanical air conditioning [limited to medical rooms in order to assure filtered air] is probably the major achievement of the project in terms of environmental sustainability.

The outside walls, with no openings, are finished with a plaster coat, painted with bright colors.

The local NGO's slogan, translated in 5 languages, completes the decoration of the walls. Each wall becomes a canvas, presenting the social message in an informal way.

Internal finishes such as the colorful mosaic tiling have been realized with the aim of combining a pleasing appearance with ease of construction, using locally available materials in a different, playful way.

More photographs and information on this project:

1. The building under construction.

2. External treatment.

3. About the Architects

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Location : Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso 

Brief : Health complex with training and counseling building

Project Architect : Riccardo Vannucci 

Project team : Giuseppina Forte, Joao Sobral, Erika Trabucco with Emanuela Valle

Site Supervision : Erika Trabucco, Joao Sobral 

Client : AIDOS [Associazione Italiana Donne per lo Sviluppo], Voix des Femmes 

Project Management : Clara Caldera, Paola Cirillo, Elena Bonometti, Sophie Sedgho 

Financial Promoters : Partito dei Democratici di Sinistra, European Commission 

Design : 2005 
Construction : February 2006 - November 2007 

Services : From Preliminary Design to Site Supervision

Site Area : 1600 sqm 
Covered Surface : 500 sqm 
Cost : 208.500€ [building+electricity and water facilities+garden]
Status : Built