• Konokono Vaccination and Educational Clinic / Selgas Cano and MIT Open Studio Students

Architects: Selgas Cano   MIT Open Studio  
Location: Turkana,  Kenya
Project Team: Selgas Cano and MIT Open Studio Students
Project Year: 2014
Photographer: Iwan Baan
Website: www.selgascano.net

Turkana, for anyone who has had the priviledge of travelling there, is a hot and dusty environment, one that among others provides the kind of environment necessary for expansive views, open air movement and natural hard wearing materials. It is with this mindset that Architect José Selgas, of the Spanish firm SelgasCano, worked on the design of a vaccination and educational center for the nomadic Turkana people along with students of architecture from MIT. The client for the said project ruled out the use of indigenous materials such as adobe and thatch as they were too expensive to install and maintain. With that there was need for a new school of thought, one that involved innovation and cost efficiency.

Konokono Vaccination and Educational Clinic / Selgas Cano and MIT Open Studio Students

During the design process , the architect hoped to interrupt the students' dependence on digital technologies and confront them with more basic questions of habitat and design, one that heavily relied on site intuition and onsite experience. This bore a design that was completed in a single month, a pavilion that not only trained the local people of efficient building techniques but also explored the culture of the Turkana people through concentric design, one that explored the aspect of community living and engagement.

Konokono Vaccination and Educational Clinic / Selgas Cano and MIT Open Studio Students

The main canopy sits on a concrete block that houses the consultation and office spaces with rings of low stone completing the cirlce and providing a 'safe' landscaping environment, the main community space. After laying stone, used for seating rings, proved too time-consuming, the team made concrete blocks on-site for walls.

Konokono Vaccination and Educational Clinic / Selgas Cano and MIT Open Studio Students

The structural system of metal tubes is fixed in place by adjustable clamps that allow fr movement in any direction thus accommodating the imbalanced angles of the structural bays. This allows for gaps within the structure that promotes air circulation from the roof. An extra layer of vertical sheeting shields the southern and western exposures from the sun, while the structure opens up to the north.

This was a project that not only sort to provide a facility for the area but also focused more on the ability for architecture to combat harsh nature. It was an ode to the elements, with sunshading simplified and public space exemplified. The design departs from the mundane notions of common building with pitched uniform roofs and explores a sort of unromantic notions of ecology and indigenous building.


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