PEDIATRIC CLINIC EAST AFRICA - THE RESERVOIR - ONE ACRE OF POTABLE WATER
Looking down we have a plot of land, approximated in or near a village. The pediatric clinic, its unique
function is scalable. To serve the needs of a population the clinic should improve the heath and well
being of the people. Troubling water scarcity in the region and appallingly low levels of potable water
requires an active design, a method to flip the situation. Moving ahead we create a preventative rather
than prescriptive means of well being by remedying the water challenges of the village. Relative to the
wetness of a regional climate, scaling of the bamboo structure and the cistern it feeds will produce the
appropriate levels of water accumulation. Clean water and proper sanitation are not only basic human
rights, they are essential armaments in the fight against expanding health crises such as cholera and
diarrhea-related illnesses which plague the region. The method we're proposing would utilize the site
of the clinic to provide abundant potable water for BOTH the clinic and the village it serves, thereby
lessening the burden on the clinic itself.
Construction of the bamboo mesh is quite simple, requiring little more than a massive supply of
bamboo, a map plotting the network, labor, and a few hundred feet of copper wire. Beveled steel
pipes embedded into ferro-cement funnels that can be made with cardboard molds hold the base of
the structure. These funnels direct the water to the main cistern via large diameter pipes.
Construction of the cistern requires earth excavation as the cistern sits beneath the allotted recreation
area. This excavation provides earth used to construct the small buildings comprising the clinic. A
combination of rammed earth and earth brick construction engages the community, provides an
opportunity for almost anyone wanting to work to do so due to the widespread regional knowledge of
mud-construction and the simplicity of its application. First to rise are the permanent walls made of
rammed earth; these walls provide support for the roofs of phase one and two. The remaining walls
will be constructed of mud bricks. This system allows for a seamless structural expansion from phase
one to phase two.
After the water is collected into the large cistern it will be pumped to smaller gravity feed cisterns that
sit atop mud pedestals which are formed with sono-tubes - located according to the needs of the
clinic. Corrugated steel roofs shade the cisterns and help maintain a comfortable climate in the
buildings, and double as water collection surfaces for times when it rains outside of rainy season. A
separate cistern and separate tap will be plumbed to the outside of the security perimeter of the clinic
and will be accessible to the village.
The periphery of the clinic contains a narrow reed bed pond. Digging the reed bed provides mud for
building, so a short wall rises from the edge of the reed bed, sits between the reed bed and the
grounds of the clinic. The combination of the wall and reed bed double as a security perimeter -
someone wanting entry would either enter through the main gate of the clinic or attempt to climb a four
foot wall while swimming in a 6 foot deep reed bed pond which is filtering waste from the clinic. The
shortness of the wall maintains the openness of the clinic when seen from the community.
Water filtered through the reed bed is channeled to two locations within the site. A grassy lawn for
sleeping receives water cleaned by the reed bed. And a small crop of bamboo fed by the effluent from
the grows outside the perimeter of the clinic. The purpose of this bamboo growth is twofold. Bamboo
will be needed to periodically replace split culms within the structure. Also, new research is
developing that seems to prove bamboo could be used within the clinic's biomass furnace to increase
the production of electricity. The timing of the cultivation and harvesting of excess bamboo could be in
accord with the construction of phase two relative to the larger clinic's increased electricity needs.
The biomass furnace sits behind the larger buildings of the clinic. Gas lines run from the furnace
provide fuel for cooking in the parents' area, heating, and refrigeration. A pit latrine provides the
furnace with human waste, and is a means of productively eliminating such waste; organic waste from
the communal kitchen can be composted and shoveled into the furnace. The reed bed will produce its
own biomass, a byproduct of the filtration process which will be scraped from its litter layer. And
potentially, people from the village can contribute their organic waste for use at the clinic.