‘Friendship Hospital’ in bangladesh designed by kashef chowdhury/URBANA is the winner of the RIBA international prize 2021. commissioned by NGO friendship, the hospital provides a vital medical facility to rural communities of satkhira in southern bangladesh, a coastal area that has been directly impacted by rising sea levels.
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is a professional body for architects primarily in the United Kingdom, but also internationally,
once surrounded by grain fields, the site of the hospital is now flanked by a flooded landscape home to shrimp fisheries. water also cuts through the length of the complex in the form of a zig-zag shaped canal that separates inpatients and outpatients. this water channel diverts rainwater to a newly built tank to prevent waterlogging while also providing cooling during hot summers, reducing the need for air conditioning.
architect kashef chowdhury of URBANA shaped a low-lying architecture composed of a series of brick volumes and courtyards, which bring in natural light and ventilation and offer peaceful spaces for patients and visitors to rest. local brick was chosen for its resilient qualities and low cost, with openings in the brickwork offering private shaded areas and natural cooling.
‘kashef chowdhury/URBANA has achieved a building designed with a human touch which is deftly integrated with its surroundings and celebrates local, and traditional crafted materials. the hospital is relevant to critical global challenges, such as unequal access to healthcare and the crushing impact of climate breakdown on vulnerable communities. it is a demonstration of how beautiful architecture can be achieved through good design when working with a relatively modest budget and with difficult contextual constraints. this hospital is a celebration of a building dedicated to humans.’ said odile decq, chair of the RIBA international prize grand jury.