Rural healthcare in China currently faces a multitude of challenges. Rural institutions are generally unfavourable compared to those in urban locales. Government subsidies and the raising of doctor and hospital incomes also lead to overcharging and needless treatments and exams. Commissioned by a Hong Kong charity, Institute for Integrated Rural Development, this project involves designing China’s first charitable hospital whilst helping foster a new attitude toward rural healthcare.
Baojing County, Hunan Province, China
Joshua Bolchover and John Lin, Rural Urban Framework (RUF)
Institute of integrated Rural Development
Luke Him Sau Charitable Trust
Design: Joshua Bolchover and John Lin
Rural Urban Framework is a not-for-profit design agency based at the Faculty of Architecture, The University of Hong Kong.
Project manager: Maggie K Y Ma
Project team: Mark Kingsley, Jeffery Huang, Crystal Kwan, Huang Zhiyun, Tiffany Leung, Johnny Cullinan, Tanya Tsui, Joyce Ip
IMAGE CREDITS: Rural Urban Framework (RUF)
Working closely with the charity and government in Angdong Village of Hunan Province, our task was to develop a model rural health care building capable of supporting the many progressive reforms on rural hospital management and care giving.
This includes providing basic necessities absent in current establishments, some as simple as waiting rooms. Additionally, seeing that most institutions in China, such as schools and hospitals, are walled off and managed as contained programs, we were interested in re-introducing the hospital as a publicly-friendly facility.
The program of a hospital is re-configured from its conventional form. The design begins with a simple strategy to provide a continuous ramp access to all floors. A wide ramp allows for seating and improves circulation. This also creates a large central courtyard space open for public use. At the ground level, the courtyard provides additional steps for seating and serves as an outdoor waiting area.
Materials consist of both recycled traditional bricks, which form the exterior façade, and custom designed concrete screen blocks, which flank the interior spiral passageway. Though from a distance they appear like the common type, these custom blocks are cast in a flexible latex mold. The resulting courtyard exhibits a soft and smoothly changing quality, casting variable shadows throughout the day.