Situated within the low income area of Masiphumele in Cape Town, theMAAK has designed a new clinic in partnership with the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation (DTHF). Positioned on a site that is already home to an existing clinic facility, the intervention provides increased space for the leading medical work that is being carried out by the organisation. With a primary focus on the social issues of the South African region, the design also intends to form a ‘striking and welcoming’ architectural expression that forms a balance between ‘bold and subtle.
The building is characterised by the saw-tooth roofline that has been designed by the social architects to bring in diffused light whilst also creating an eye-catching exterior. On the main, north-facing elevation, the façade is articulated by aluminium fins that aim to create a proud entrance for DTHF. When viewed from the side, these fins compound to resemble a solid structure, however, upon moving across the site, the fins appear to move apart, affording an element of transparency. From this angle, visitors can see through into the inner workings of the facility.
In comparison to the north-facing façade, the southern elevation is formed to be more understated, yet still retains the saw-tooth profile to conform with the building’s overall identity. Within the interior, this saw-tooth shape functions to provide a diffused, south light in the upstairs offices, affording a more comfortable working environment than direct daylight. On the lower levels, light-sensitive lab spaces have been created under the shade provided by the overhanging ‘social landing’ above. With its bold exterior architecture, the Desmond Tutu clinic strives to create a new face for the impressive work being carried out by the organisation, which strives to help communities across South Africa.
Project name: ‘Desmond Tutu Clinic’
Location: Masiphumele, Cape Town, South Africa
Photography: Anton Scholtz and theMAAK
As seen on: DesignBoom