The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation and Le Korsa, a nonprofit serving communities in rural Senegal that was established by the Albers Foundation’s executive director, Nicholas Fox Weber, in 2005, will open a new maternity and pediatric hospital in Tambacounda, Senegal, on May 10. Designed pro bono by Manuel Herz, the two-story, curvilinear structure reflects Josef and Anni Albers’s interest in geometry and patterns, the foundation said.
With a narrow design will enable natural cooling through cross-ventilation, the hospital will be able to accommodate 150 beds. According to a release, Herz’s “mashrabiya-inspired use of lattice-like brickwork with apertures has the advantages of blocking sun and facilitating air circulation, whilst also giving the hospital its distinctive recurrent visual motif and its beautiful play of light and shade.”
The architect collaborated with the local leader Dr. Magueye Ba on the structure’s design, and local craftsmen and engineers played integral roles in the project. According to a report by the Art Newspaper, the new hospital, completed with funds raised by Le Korsa, cost about €2 million (about $2.4 million).
Le Korsa is now reportedly working to raise $500,000 for hospital staff housing. To showcase the nonprofit’s work in Tambacounda, Herz will present an installation titled The Many Lives of Tambacounda at the Venice Biennale of Architecture this month.
Fox Weber said in a statement that the new building “functions beautifully, is upbeat in appearance, deflects the brutal temperatures of the region, and provides a joyous, inspiring, salubrious setting to all who enter it.”
In a release, Herz said, “This collaborative process has led to designs that were surprising, that are much more interesting, better adapted to the local conditions and more beautiful than any single-authored project could have delivered.”