D4O Serves the Lwala Community

(June 9, 2014) - Design 4 Others, (D4O), an HDR employee-run volunteer initiative dedicated to providing design expertise to communities in need, recently completed the Basis of Design (BOD) for the new Lwala Community Staff Housing project. The D4O team for this project included planners, architects and engineers from the Atlanta and Toronto offices: Scott Butler, Joe Messina, Jereme Smith, Jeff Minton and Jason-Emery Groen. The BOD will be used to inform a preliminary cost estimate, and as a guide for the local architect to develop detailed design and construction drawings. 

The Lwala Community Alliance is a non-profit health and development agency founded by Drs. Milton and Fred Ochieng', Lwala natives. (Lwala is a rural village in the Nyanza Province of western Kenya.) The Alliance's original mission--to provide primary care through the Lwala Community Health Center that opened in 2007—has expanded to become a multi-faceted community-development agency. In 2011, the center was expanded to include a new clinical care and maternal-health wing, tripling capacity, and was renamed the Lwala Community Hospital. 

Since 2011, an unprecedented increase in patients has resulted in overcrowding of clinical areas within the maternal-health wing. The second phase has now expanded to include a new bed ward in this wing, and staff housing to accommodate the growing number of staff required to support the growing hospital. 

In 2012, D4O partnered with LCA to provide planning and design services for five primary areas:

  • Site master plan
  • Nurses' residence extension
  • Connection or hospital wings
  • Clinical space 
  • Community center 

Visioning, programming and master-planning workshops were conducted in September 2012, February 2013, May 2013 and October 2013. A program was developed to illustrate what current trends in growth could mean to the future of the Lwala Community Hospital. Site analyses revealed that the site would not accommodate the anticipated growth over time. This essentially forced the LCA to focus their growth strategy and to maintain the goal of operating strictly as a community hospital. Patients requiring acute care would be treated at a regional hospital. 

Further, the group realized that the planned community center would better serve the population at another location that was more central to the community. Also, additional land would be acquired to accommodate new staff housing. The idea was to develop a "living community" adjacent to the hospital, offering respite to the staff. This would also provide some breathing room--as the current campus is land-locked to the north.  

A plot of available land has been identified, and options for development have been explored and documented. Together, the team has developed a space program, conceptual plans and elevations, equipment layouts, and outline specifications to be used in collaboration with the local architect and contractor to move the project forward.