November 11, 2002
by Canadian Architect
It is estimated that three-quarters of the world’s AIDS population lives in Sub-Saharan Africa; most have no access to lifesaving drugs, testing facilities or even basic preventative care. One of the major factors inhibiting medical professionals in Africa from treating this disease is the inability to access vast areas of the continent with adequately equipped facilities. In response, on May 1, 2002 Architecture for Humanity announced the Mobile HIV/AIDS Health Clinic for Africa initiative challenging architects and designers around the world to respond to the HIV/AIDS pandemic which is devastating the continent. Designers were given six months to develop schemes for a fully equipped, mobile medical unit and HIV/AIDS treatment center specifically for use in Africa. In addition to testing, prevention and treatment, this easily transportable unit will disseminate information regarding the virus and provide basic healthcare services.
During the submission period, May 1, 2002 to November 1, 2002 over 126,000 visitors from 108 countries logged on to www.architectureforhumanity.org to learn about this initiative. 463 teams representing 47 nations across the globe answered the call submitting highly innovative and cost-efficient schemes. Crossing geographical, political and cultural boundaries entries came in from as far as Australia, Botswana, China, Denmark, India, Japan, Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe. A detailed set of criteria was developed with the support and advice from a team of over hundred medical professionals and leaders in HIV/AIDS research working in the US and seven African countries. In total, over 1050 architects, medical professionals, industrial designers and students in the field of design and medicine took part in this truly global response.
On November 22nd and 23rd a seven-person panel comprised of internationally renowned architects and HIV/AIDS professionals will meet in New York to jury the entries. The panelists include: Toshiko Mori, Chair of the Department of Architecture, Harvard Graduate Design School; Dr. Reuben Mutiso PhD, architect and principal of Tectura International in Nairobi, Kenya; Rick Joy, architect and principal of Rick Joy Architects; Jennifer Siegal, architect and principal of Office of Mobile Design; Kate Bourne, Executive Vice President of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI); Dr. Peter R. Lamptey M.D., President of the AIDS Institute, Family Health International; and Dr Shaffiq Essajee, Director of the AIDS Research and Family Care Clinic in Mombasa, Kenya.
The jury will select first, second, and third placed entries along with the best student entry and ten honorable mentions.
Finalists will be announced in New York on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2002.
An exhibition of the winning entries and selected designs will open in the evening of December 6, 2002 at the Van Alen Institute in New York and will be on display until December 20th. With the support of Virgin Atlantic and the W Hotels, this exhibit is set travel in 2003 within the United States and internationally. Money raised from the $35 submission fee (waived for entries from developing countries), donations and additional fundraising activities will be used to build a prototype of the first place concept. Once developed, it is hoped that refined versions of this cost-effective and mobile design can be built for Africaand eventually, easily replicated in other regions around the world.