hostels for hope
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
In Tanzania, a country with some of the world’s highest rates of cervical and breast cancer, women often face insurmountable obstacles to receive the treatment they need. The Ocean Road Cancer Institute in Dar es Salaam is currently the only specialized cancer treatment facility in Tanzania, treating roughly 10,000 women per year – 60% of whom live outside of the city.
Many rural women without funds to pay for long-term housing near the OCRI either do not seek care or drop out, choosing to die at home rather than undergo life-saving treatment in an uncomfortable and unaffordable situation. A hostel is proposed to house women who would not otherwise receive treatment.
AGD’s hostel design is based on fostering community, providing shelter, and the use of local and sustainable materials. The dormitories wrap around a shady courtyard, each connecting to shared walkways and balconies with views both outward and inward, towards to communal center. A double-height community space connects to the central outdoor courtyard in a way that allows the spaces to blend together, using layers of woven sisal mats and compressed earth block screens to create soft, rather than hard, barriers between spaces. The sisal plant is both one of Tanzania’s most abundant resources and a source of women’s work. Compressed earth blocks are a low-cost and strong infill material that can be constructed by trained volunteers.
Generous roof overhangs and screens mitigate the harsh sun while taking advantage of cooling sea breezes from the Indian Ocean. A distinctive ramp wraps around the courtyard, eliminating the need for an elevator, and rainwater is collected in a cistern to provide safe drinking water for the women in residence. The goal is to create a self-sustaining, comfortable, and community-oriented space for women far from home.
Competition sponsored by: Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon; the American Cancer Society; the George W. Bush Institute; HKS, Inc.; Southern Methodist University; and T-MARC Tanzania