The Maternity Waiting Village at the Kasungu district hospital in central Malawi is designed to attract expectant mothers from remote areas to the facility before giving birth. Just like the communal spaces of traditional villages, it has a space for gardening, cooking in a shared kitchen, and laundry done under the shade of a roof that collects rainwater.
The design and development of the village, was done by MASS Design Group, with Gates Foundation, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Malawi’s health ministry.
“Our approach is, let’s leave the big open ward of 45 people and reduce [it] to smaller rooms and have intimate outdoor spaces,” Christian Benimana, a Rwandan architect with MASS Design who led the project, told Quartz at the Design Indaba conference on Feb. 19th. “They can live close to how they are living in their own homes in their villages where they spend most of the time in the courtyards with their friends,” he said.