Renzo Piano for Emergency: inauguration of a new pediatric hospital in Uganda

The "scandalously beautiful" children's health facility designed by the Alumnus opens its doors: it will be a focal point for the African continent

After almost two years of work, the new pediatric hospital was inaugurated in Uganda for Emergency, designed pro bono by Alumnus Renzo Piano and his studio, with the collaboration of da T AMassociati and the Building division of EMERGENCY. The project combines practical health needs with an idea of ​​rational, modern and sustainable architecture, aiming at becoming a model for future medical facilities around the world.

"I like to think of Africa as a laboratory for the future and not just as a scenario of suffering and forgotten wars. Gino has always asked me to design a “shockingly beautiful ” hospital - explains Renzo Piano, architect and alumnus of the Politecnico, in an interview . - To talk about the beauty of the hospital is a scandal because for some people it is unthinkable to offer beauty and excellence to everyone, especially the most disadvantaged and marginalized. On the other hand, it is well known that in all African languages, Swahili first, the idea of ​​beauty is always accompanied by the idea of ​​good: there is no beauty without goodness. "

ospedale renzo piano
Credits: Emergency

The structure, which rises not far from the shores of Lake Victoria, with its over 9000 square meters aims to become a focal point for the whole continent, in particular in the field of pediatric surgery : children and young children under the age of 18 will in fact be welcomed free of charge and the healthcare staff will have 3 operator rooms and 72 beds available to treat them.

There are also going to be clinics spaces, a radiology, CT, a laboratory with a blood bank, a pharmacy and auxiliary services to guarantee top quality assistance, always housed in the "cruise" system of the hospital, which refers to that of Filarete's Ca 'Granda in Milan.

ospedale renzo piano
Credits: Emergency

Here is what Gino Strada, surgeon and founder of Emergency had to say on the project:

"The best way to help Africa is to do the same things there that we would like to have here too, in Italy. We went to Uganda with all the skills, the equipment, the technologies necessary to do a high-level surgery and with an extraordinary structure. We are all part of the human community: we are "equal in dignity and rights", as it is written in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We have a responsibility to treat an African child exactly as we would an Italian child. "


In addition to being at the forefront in the health field, the hospital is characterized by sustainability guaranteed by the use of local materials and advanced technologies: the walls are built in pisè , a traditional construction technique that uses raw earth, which manages to keep the temperature and humidity of the building constant, while 2500 photovoltaic solar panels produce energy that covers most of the hospital's energy needs, and which is also divided with the neighboring city.

ospedale renzo piano pannelli
Credits: Emergency

"When Gino Strada asked me to take part in this new EMERGENCY challenge I didn't think twice, I immediately said yes! - had declared Piano to Emergency, before construction - This hospital will be a model of medical excellence, environmental sustainability, energy independence and harmonious distribution of space. We want to use the resources of the earth, water and the sun, the best goals of modernity, the real ones. The hospital will be built on the shores of Lake Victoria, surrounded by nature and trees. The vegetation will be the horizon of the little guests, the trees as a metaphor for the healing process "