In 2012, Kéré Architecture embarked on a project to build a medical centre in Léo, a town in Sissili Province in Burkina Faso situated near the border with Ghana, around 150 kilometres south of the capital city, Ouagadougou. The population of Léo is 50,000, but the medical centre will also serve the villages in the surrounding countryside. A high staff turnover rate and lack of smaller, local clinics means that the district hospital is often overstretched and struggles to serve the whole community. The charity “Operieren in Afrika” decided to raise funds to build a medical clinic in Léo for small, simple operations. They will provide scholarships to trained doctors and nurses to staff the clinic, which will maintain a connection with Germany.
Recently opened in June 2014 the Center is equipped with surgical facilities, an in-patient ward, and a maternity unit. In planning for the most sustainable building solution with least ecological impact, the main construction of the Center is compressed earth bricks. Their high thermal mass capacity allows them to absorb the cool night air and release it during the day, helping keep the interior spaces cool. The clinic also features ten large overlapping roofs that protect the walls from rain and shade the interiors and surrounding spaces from the hot daytime sun.
In order to maintain costs and simplify the construction process, a modular building system with the same dimensional and material specifications was used. The playfully positioned and vibrantly-colored buildings are sited around a central outdoor corridor, allowing for a variety of shaded interstitial spaces that feel both dynamic and welcoming. These friendly characteristics are important for the success of the Center, as they attract patients who would normally not seek medical attention or guidance.