The best new building in the world has been deemed a hospital in a rural part of Bangladesh. Friendship Hospital in Satkhira, a cyclone-prone zone, has been granted the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) international prize 2021.
Kashef Chowdhury, a Bangladeshi architect, created the 80-bed community hospital, which was built entirely of indigenous bricks.
The Grand Jury, chaired by famous architect Odile Decq, chose the hospital as the winner from a shortlist of three new buildings.
The hospital, which was built at a minimal cost, was meant to work with and survive the tangible climate change consequences of rising saltwater in the surrounding region, according to a statement released by RIBA. ‘A sequence of courtyards bring in natural light and ventilation, while a canal running across the site collects valuable rainwater because the groundwater is useless for most uses,’ according to the RIBA.
The water channel provides visual relief, aids in microclimatic cooling, and serves as a form of distraction for both patients and their family members from the disease’s concern.
According to the RIBA statement, ‘Friendship Hospital embodies an architecture of humanity and protection that symbolises the Friendship NGO’s charitable aim to bring dignity and hope to communities via social innovation.”
Chowdhury, according to Decq, created a building with a human touch that seamlessly merged into its surroundings. ‘The hospital is highly relevant to major global concerns like unequal access to healthcare and the crushing impact of climate breakdown on vulnerable populations,’ she said, adding that the hospital is a celebration of a structure committed to people.