Architecture that serves students and patients
Mar 15, 2021

Central to Manuel Herz’s redesign of Tambacounda Hospital is open brickwork, which allows in light and air while blocking dust, an essential function in hot and dry Tambacounda.

When the local construction team began fabricating the bricks for the hospital in 2020, Dr. Magueye Ba, who is the lead contractor, quickly realized their broad application. Under other circumstances, a test facade would be created during the early stages of construction and then destroyed once it had served its purpose.

However, in resource-scarce Tambacounda, Magueye Ba took a more creative approach: he decided to perfect the brick-making technique while creating another building, echoing Josef Albers’ maxim of “Minimal means, maximum effect.”

He used the same bricks in a primary school in Sare Sidi, which his team was building with the support of the Clara Lionel Foundation and Le Korsa.

It was an efficient and elegant solution: the masons on his team could use one set of molds, but make bricks for two buildings, and both students and patients could benefit from Herz’s design.

In an interview with Dezeen that discussed the hospital’s construction, Manuel praised the ingenuity of Magueye’s work: “It translates the Western logic of a test-facade – that would have otherwise not served any additional purpose after observing it for a short moment – into ‘local logic’ where resources are precious. It took us by surprise, but I think there is an incredible cunningness and intelligence to the move.”

“I had the chance of visiting the school twice – once during the rainy season and once during the dry season – since its completion and each time saw it in use,” said Herz. “Compared to other village schools, it has much better ventilation, much better light and a lower temperature within the room. Ventilation is extremely important for eastern Senegal, as temperatures easily reach more than 40 degrees Celsius during the dry season and we need to make sure that the hot air doesn’t get trapped in the space.”