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UC Design for Tanzanian Clinic Wins Prestigious Architecture Award

A UC project to design and help build a clinic in rural Tanzania has received one of only five national awards from the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards.

Date: 5/8/2011 12:00:00 AM
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Provided by Michael Zaretsky

UC ingot   Until recently, anyone wanting medical care in the Tarime region surrounding the community of Roche, Tanzania, had to walk for miles to reach the nearest city. That included women in labor or people with serious injuries.

Because of the need for medical facilities in that area – combined with challenges related to the site – University of Cincinnati faculty and students in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP), the College of Medicine and the College of Engineering & Applied Science worked together to design a health center that was then built by the local community and includes features like earthquake-resistant masonry, natural cooling methods and more. The facility opened on April 1, 2011, and the first baby to be delivered in the clinic was just born!
Clinic in use.
The UC-designed Roche Health Center is now in use. Here a blood-pressure reading is underway.

In all, UC faculty and students worked both in classroom settings and studios and on site for three years in order to help make the clinic a reality. And that work has been recognized in multiple ways, most recently with a prize from the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), an organization that oversees the licensure of architects.

The 2011 NCARB Prize awarded to UC in recognition of the clinic project was one of only five national awards the organization presents annually in order to recognize and promote real-world projects that combine the talents and skills of architecture and engineering practitioners with those of faculty and students. In this case, UC faculty and students teamed with emersion DESIGN and Arup (a global engineering firm) in working on the clinic effort.

The prize is accompanied by $7,500.

That prize will be used to benefit the Roche Health Center, according to Michael Zaretsky, assistant professor in UC’s School of Architecture and Interior Design, who was one of the leaders connected to the health center project.
Roche Health Center under construction
A view of the Roche Health Center while under construction.

For instance, the prize will help to fund improvements to the health center to be completed in June when Zaretsky leads a group of UC students and faculty – with students representing majors in architecture, interior design, industrial design, graphic design, history, philosophy, biomedical engineering and accounting – to Roche in order to assist with the clinic effort as part of an Honors course in Humanitarian Design. Also accompanying the group to Tanzania will be Tom Bible, associate professor in UC’s School of Architecture and Interior Design.

While the UC group is in Tanzania in June, members will meet with officials from the Tanzanian government because the Roche Health Center may be used as a rural health care model throughout the country.

Says Zaretsky, “The NCARB Prize is fantastic recognition for all the people who have worked on this project for three years. It’s inspiring and energizing that an organization we respect has provided us this vote of confidence. This encourages us to use this project as a stepping stone to future projects like it, which will also provide our faculty and students with great learning, research and service opportunities.”