Friendship Hospital, Satkhira, an eighty-bed community hospital situated in a remote rural area of southwest Bangladesh, designed by Bangladeshi architect Kashef Chowdhury/URBANA, has won the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) International Prize 2021.
The low-cost building was designed to work with and withstand the tangible climate change effects of rising seawater in the surrounding area. A series of courtyards bring in natural light and ventilation, while a canal traversing the site collects valuable rainwater since the groundwater remains unusable for most purposes. This channel of water adds visual relief, helps the micro-climatic cooling and provides a welcome distraction from the anxiety and unhappiness related to illness, for both patients and their relatives.
The RIBA International Prize is awarded every two years to a building that exemplifies design excellence and architectural ambition and delivers meaningful social impact. It is one of the world’s most rigorously judged architectural awards, with every longlisted building visited by international experts.
The Friendship Hospital, Satkhira was chosen from a shortlist of three exceptional new buildings by the Grand Jury, chaired by world-renowned multi-disciplinary French architect Odile Decq.
In a statement, Odile Decq said:“Friendship Hospital embodies an architecture of humanity and protection that reflects the Friendship NGO’s philanthropic mission to provide dignity and hope to communities through social innovation. Kashef Chowdhury/URBANA has achieved a building designed with a human touch that is deftly integrated with its surroundings and celebrates local, and traditionally crafted materials. The hospital is very 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. This hospital is a celebration of a building dedicated to humans.”