Rwinkwavu Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Can architecture improve maternal and child health?
The Rwinkwavu Hospital was closed after the 1994 genocide, reopening in the early 2000s as a health center and later with Partners In Health as the referral hospital for the Kayonza district. In response to the region’s high mortality rate of children under five, UNICEF prepared a concept brief for a new operating suite and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
In response to the brief, MASS identified a site near a recently completed maternity ward. The new building plan follows the flow of expectant mothers from the adjacent pre-maternity ward, through operating rooms designated for Cesarean deliveries, and across a sheltered exterior corridor to the postpartum ward and NICU. A rhythmic array of tall windows offers views to the valley in the distance and a band of clerestory windows brings light into service areas and private spaces. Conceived of as a shared living room, the postpartum ward opens up and connecting to the landscape on one end, and access to the nursing station and NICU on the other end. A low-pitched butterfly roof allows for a future rainwater harvesting system to be easily installed and preserves views from the buildings above to the valley.
Outdoor communal areas, established for families and patient attendants, surround the building; these carefully landscaped spaces allow visitors to stay close at hand without overwhelming the NICU and operating rooms’ medical and patient areas, a common problem in medical facilities around the country.
In addition to constructing the NICU, MASS worked with Partners In Health to create a master plan for the Rwinkwavu Hospital, which also serves as the organization’s headquarters in Rwanda. MASS mapped and assessed facilities and needs on the existing campus, projecting hospital capacity growth and delivering data-based design solutions.
Location: Rwinkwavu, Rwanda
Size: 1,294 sq. m.
Program: Neonatal Intensive Care Center
Services: Project Accompaniment, Architectural and Landscape Design, Construction Administration, On-site Training
Rwanda Ministry of Health
Partners In Health
Quantity Surveyor - Edys Consultants