A hospital in a rural part of Bangladesh has been voted the best new building in the world. Friendship Hospital, situated in Satkhira, a cyclone-prone district, has been awarded the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) international prize 2021. This 80-bed hospital was designed by Bangladeshi architect Kashef Chowdhury, who only used local bricks for construction.
Grand Jury chaired by renowned architect Odile Decq chose the hospital from a shortlist of three new buildings. RIBA stated in a statement that the hospital was designed to withstand the tangible effect of rising seawater on the surrounding area, resulting from climate change. ‘A series of courtyards bring in natural light and ventilation, while a canal traversing the site collects valuable rainwater since the groundwater remains unusable for most purposes,’ the RIBA said.
In addition to offering visual respite, the channel induces microclimatic cooling and serves as a source of distraction for patients and their caregivers from anxiety associated with the disease. ‘Friendship Hospital embodies an architecture of humanity and protection that reflects the Friendship NGO’s philanthropic mission to provide dignity and hope to communities through social innovation,’ Decq said, according to the RIBA statement.
Decq said Chowdhury created a building that is deftly integrated with its surroundings and designed with a human touch. According to her, the hospital connects to critical global challenges, such as unequal access to healthcare and the ravaging effects of climate change on vulnerable communities. The facility is a celebration of humanity.