New Sight Eye Hospital
Boogertman and Partners Architects in Association with Geyser Hahn Architects - Republic of Congo
Drawings, plans, elevations
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In the Republic of Congo and surrounding areas, 4 out of 5 people who are blind or visually impaired suffer because they lack access to prevention or correction of treatable eye conditions. New Sight is a pioneer in the Republic of Congo, delivering comprehensive non-profit eye services to one of the most impoverished and undeservedn areas of the world. By restoring sight, including patients suffering from ‘river blindness’, New Sight brings hope and transformation to the lives of patients and their families. The purpose of the project is to open a non-profit eye hospital in Ouesso as a primary hub of future operations, serving the surrounding La Sangha region and wider Republic of Congo.The hospital forms part of a larger site design, which includes the main eye clinic, staff accommodation, doctor’s houses, outdoor family kitchens, and multi-functional jungle halls that serve all future needs of the community. The design of the hospital is focused on phenomenological principles that address sensory experience. This concept resonates with the building users that have impaired eye sight, by providing an architectural spatial quality that fosters comfort though indirect light, ventilated courtyards and local building materiality like timber and Congolese patterned bricks. The recovery wards (where sometimes patients obtain vision again after 15-20 years) open op onto a network of internalised planted courtyards that stimulate both the experiential and healing aspects of the recovery process. Provision is also made for informal outdoor kitchens where families of patients prepare food for their loved ones, plugging into the cultural heritage of Ouesso. In conclusion, the building becomes a vesssl, or a tool that uses the experiential quality of place, to create an environment that not only heal, but celebrate the wonderful gift of sight.
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