In 2016, Michael Murphy did an amazing TED Talk on Architecture for Healing. He discusses architecture as a means for physical healing, for preventing further disease and for healing nations. His inspiring talk, left me wishing to hear more.

One of the key places Michael Murphy talks about is the Butaro District Hospital in Rwanda. The problem they faced is that the narrow, dimly lit, cramped corridors were breeding grounds of TB infections. It might be thought that every hospital needs corridors, but Michael Murphy and others at MASS, rethought the concept of corridors – putting them on the outside of the building instead, encouraging people to engage with the outside space and reducing infection.

Research has shown that a natural view can vastly improve the healing process. So what did they do? They reorganised the wards, put in loads of windows and made it so every bed is a bed with a view.

But what’s more, they wanted the hospital to heal the community in other ways too. Still suffering the effects from the Rwandan Genocide, they got the community to engage with the construction. They taught the community skills in furniture making, stone masonry, everything needed. There was a real community spirit, making a hospital in the community, for the community and by the community.

I love this building and I love this TED Talk.

You can watch the TED Talk here. 

And find out more about the MASS Design Group and Butaro District Hospital here.

Note: I do not own the image of Butaro District Hospital. Image copyright of MASS Design Group.


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