The project is a new model for rural healthcare that addresses the huge gap between rural and urban services in China. Commissioned by the Institute for Integrated Rural Development, a Hong Kong charity, and working closely with the local health bureau, the objective was to develop a building that is capable of supporting progressive reforms on rural hospital management and care-giving. The design serves as a demonstration for how this can be achieved through its programming, public accessibility and innovative use of materials.
The building provides the basic necessities absent in many current rural health establishments in China, such as a surgical ward, labour ward, and physiotherapy treatment. It also offers both traditional Chinese and Western medicine. The Angdong hospital redefines the nature of healthcare design in China by offering a public facility in the heart of the village that includes outdoor waiting areas, community meeting spaces, and roof top exercise areas – all connected via an accessible circulation ramp.
As part of the design process, we developed a flexible concrete-casting mold for building blocks that altered generic construction techniques on the site. In particular, our model varied the orientation and distance of an aperture’s extrusion or intrusion within each block, thereby creating variable lighting effects. These blocks were manufactured in the village, demonstrating how unique materials can be developed in rural areas at a low cost but with enhanced spatial effects according to light penetration, shadow and texture.
The project has been widely acclaimed, winning the RIBA International Emerging Architect 2016 prize and receiving a Highly Commended award in the Architectural Review Healthcare Award 2016. It has been exhibited internationally including the China Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2018 as part of Building a Future Countryside curated by Li Xiangning. It has been published in books including Shaping Cities in an Urban Age (edited by Ricky Burdett and Philipp Rode, 2018) and in multiple journals including Lotus International (September 2016) and The Architectural Review (November 2016).