Tamassociati wins the Giancarlo Ius Gold Medal

The paediatric hospital in Sudan and the strategy of simplicity

by Malcolm Clark
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The Paediatric centre Port Sudan, designed and built by TAMassociati, is the winner of the Giancarlo Ius Gold Medal, one of the prizes awarded within the framework of the Biennial Architecture Prize 'Barbara Capocchin' and reserved to the most innovative and sustainable architecture.

The Award jury, consisting of Leopold Freyrie, Alberto Cecchetto, Abe Ryo, Francisco Mangado, Nikos Fintikakis, Nicola Leonardi and Victoria Mayers, gave the award to Tamassociati for the design and construction of the Paedriatic Centre in Port Sudan (Sudan), commissioned by the NGO Emergency for its innovative and sustainable architecture in terms of energy saving and the use of renewable energy.

Salam centre for cardiac surgery

The Italian architects only won the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2013 for the construction of the Salam centre for cardiac surgery in Khartoum (Sudan) just over a month ago.

The judges' motivation stated that the hospital “attempts to solve the main themes of the challenges of the contemporary world with excellent results and good architecture” that is “how to make highly comfortable buildings - especially in a children's hospital - with simple and inexpensive technologies” in places “where the climatic (and social) conditions are extreme”, where “energy and water are precious assets.”

The Paediatric Centre proves once more how quality, functionality, energy saving and beauty do not necessarily have to entail excessive economic and technological choices, but can also find excellent answers through the criteria of simplicity and eco-simplicity.

The design and construction of a hospital with these characteristics represents a challenge and an innovation in several directions for the whole sub-Saharan area: advanced technologies alongside the recovery of traditional building techniques, while ultra low power systems are mingled with natural cooling systems, creating thermal machines for perfect, simple and effective shade and ventilation. The Italian know-how is backed up with local materials, while the morphology of the building has restored the domestic architecture typical of the area, on a large scale, enriching it with a large garden irrigated by wastewater: in this physical and human desert, living greenery is a vision, it has a great symbolic value because it is the prelude to the healthcare to come.

The construction of one of the few health outposts in this vast area, capable of providing free healthcare to the children in the area, is a step towards fulfilling the right to health, beauty, respect, to and of the environment.

The coexistence of the best healthcare possible and the best ecological approach - conclude Tamassociati - is one of the great challenges for the future, and not just for the African continent. The African experience teaches us to imagine simplicity as a synthesis between modern and traditional technology, capable of focussing on common sense, durability and measure, in an overall strategy of reducing the project, without losing sight of the idea of well-being. Simplicity as a strategy was and is a way to deal with any decision of a technological and systemic nature, which is reflected in a significant way on the final costs of the operation and on the maintenance charges. Behaviour focussed on saving, added to a good building efficiency and appropriate energy choices, have enabled us to achieve excellent performance.”

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    References
    Paediatric centre Port Sudan 58

    Paediatric centre Port Sudan

    Porto Sudan / Sudan / 2012

    Salam centre for cardiac surgery 12

    Salam centre for cardiac surgery

    Khartoum / Sudan / 2010