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David Adjaye Designs an Elegant Children’s Cancer Center in Rwanda

While design can’t cure disease, it does have the ability to soothe, to comfort, and to create joy—powerful sentiments that can make treatment less miserable. Architect David Adjaye‘s new project, the Eugene Gasana Jr. Foundation Pediatric Cancer Center, located in Kigali, Rwanda, deploys regional influences, modern finishes, and thoughtful planning to provide a beautiful backdrop for recovery.

The structure, composed of a 100-bed hospital, outpatient accommodations, and staff housing, is wrapped in a geometric brise soleil influenced by the motifs of Imigongo, a traditional Rwandan art form that uses cow dung as a medium (the center’s screens are sturdy metal, however). Plants are expected to grow around the triangular components to offer a deeper connection with nature—the opposite of the sterile spaces one comes to expect from a medical center. To introduce light into the sprawling space, Adjaye Associates inserted courtyards into the building; every room has a window and a view outside. (It seems like a no-brainer, but that’s rarely a guarantee in hospitals.) The firm states that the most important part of the brief was to build a space that adds dignity and hope to the lives of children.

Famous architects have lent their expertise to designing cancer care centers around the world—a worthy cause in between self-indulgent stadium designs and excessive office spaces.

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