Introduction and Design Brief

Africa International Design Competition 2011 Introduction

Credit-WHOAFRO

A healthy population is considered the foundation for social and economic development, so it is critical that Africa gets the health system it deserves. It is only with a strong focus on preventative care, wellness and early intervention that it will achieve its potential, however.

With this in mind, South Africa’s Ministry of Health and the International Academy for Design & Health jointly launched a competition this year to design a new kind of health centre – one with a preventative, rather than a curative, vision.

These community Health Promoting Lifestyle Centres (HPLCs) will focus mainly on primary healthcare, with an emphasis on health promotion, moving the focus away from risk factors and the treatment of disease towards a holistic understanding of a healthy society in the African context.

The design brief
These community HPLCs will focus mainly on primary healthcare, with a strong focus on health promotion, wellness, education, preventative care and early intervention – a salutogenic, rather than a curative, approach.

The HPLC should be friendly and welcoming, empowering the community towards self-care. It should clearly indicate a paradigm shift in healthcare facility design, showing a greater understanding of ‘salutogenic’ health and how the physical environment can be a valuable tool for preventative medicine and as a means of promoting and supporting health processes.

Environmentally supportive and innovative design principles shall be at its forefront. It should therefore feature the following:

  • health promotion/educational facilities, to introduce the examination of patients’ lifestyles
  • an outpatient area and other support facilities e.g. waiting areas, waste disposal and storage
  • recreational infrastructure to support an active and healthy lifestyle
  • mother and child facilities (pre-natal, delivery and post-natal)
  • dental care facilities
  • HIV and AIDS counselling facilities, and TB screening facilities
  • environmentally friendly and well landscaped external
  • adolescent-friendly counselling areas for teens on issues of teen pregnancies, substance abuse, alcohol and self care features, including children’s play areas, designed with a local cultural approach
  • parking areas



The designer was required to create optimal and sustainable physical environments using indigenous architecture and local materials as much as possible, within stringent financial constraints and overall reduced operational and maintenance costs.

Shortlisted entrants were assessed anonymously by an international panel chaired by Dr Alan Dilani of the International Academy for Design & Health and Dr Massoud Shaker from the South African Ministry of Health. The winner was announced during Design and Health Africa 2011 International Symposium in Cape Town on 25-26 October.