Bangladesh community hospital wins Riba International Prize 2021

January 26, 2022

Royal Institute of British Architects RIBA has announced Friendship hospital in Bangladesh as the winner of the Riba International Prize 2021, the biennial award highlighting worldwide projects that “demonstrate design excellence and social impact”. The remote community hospital set within a riverine landscape translates the┬ásite’s conditions prone to flooding into the central theme of the design, crafting a serene environment around the water element. The jury commended the project’s thoughtful and innovative design within a modest budget, its use of local craftsmanship, and its climate-resilient response.
The 80-bed community hospital, located in Satkhira, a remote rural area in south-west Bangladesh, is designed by architect Kashef Chowdhury and his Dhaka-based firm, Urbana, the hospital was commissioned by sustainable development NGO, Friendship. Chowdhury described the jury’s decision to honor a project from
the “global periphery” as a “sublimely important moment.” “I am encouraged that this may inspire more of us to commit, not in spite of, but because of limitations of resources and means, to an architecture of care both for humanity and for nature, to rise collectively to the urgencies that we face today on a planetary scale,”
he said in a press statement.
In a press release announcing the winner, RIBA noted that the Friendship Hospital was built in a “fragile and dynamic environment,” where grain fields have been converted into shrimp farms due to rising sea levels.
As such, the hospital incorporates several sustainable design features. The way the courtyards are arranged encourages natural ventilation and eliminates the need for air conditioning. The architects also created a drainage system that channels rainwater from around the complex into a storage tank for future use and to
prevent waterlogging.
The prize’s jury comprised experts from Europe, the US, Asia and South America, and was chaired by French architect and urban planner Odile Decq. In a press statement, Decq said that the hospital “is relevant to critical global challenges, such as unequal access to healthcare and the crushing impact of climate breakdown
on vulnerable communities.”
“It is a demonstration of how beautiful architecture can be achieved through good design when working with a relatively modest budget and with difficult contextual constraints,” she added.

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