The CSPS medical centre at Burkina Faso’s Opera Village is now open

Kéré Architecture’s Opera Village in Burkina Faso uses cultural identity and pride as a tool for positive development. It now includes a medical centre.

From the Series

The Centre de Santé et de Promotion Sociale, the medical centre that forms part of the Burkina Faso Opera Village in Laongo, is now open. Built in the same style as the Opera Village, the Centre – also know as the CSPS – is built from local materials and using vernacular methods.

Berlin-based, Burkina Faso-born architect Francis Kéré designed the Opera Village to be a cultural centre for African film and theatre with a world-class performance centre. After massive flooding damaged the project site and surrounding villages, the decision was made to pool resources and funds from the Opera Village to introduce residential, educational, and medical amenities into the plan.

In order to support this wide range of function and use, an adaptable structural module was developed with integrated passive ventilation, solar energy use, and water collection and management. Made with local clay, wood, and laterite stone, these modules minimize ecologic and cost impact by maximizing the use of materials widely available on site.

The CSPS, is geared towards providing basic health and medical resources for the local population, and consists of three units organised around a central reception area: dentistry, gynecology and obstetrics, and general medicine. The facility has examination rooms, inpatient wards, and staff offices. Special consideration is taken for visitors and family of patients with several shaded courtyards for gathering and waiting.

The windows are composed like picture frames, with each individual view focused on a unique part of the landscape, designed to suit the varying vantage points of standing, seated, or bedridden individuals including children.

In keeping with the material aesthetic and ecology of the Opera Village, local clay and laterite stone where used in the double-envelope construction of the walls for extra rain protection. Locally available eucalyptus wood, seen as an environmental nuisance as it contributes to desertification, is used to line the suspended ceilings and covered walkways of the centre.

Landlocked and in the southern reaches of the Sahara desert, Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world. Its people, however, have a strong sense of national pride. Francis Kéré’s architecture practice taught the local communities construction methods so that they were completely involved with the building and continued maintenance of the site.

The Opera Village was developed in collaboration with late German theatre and film director Christoph Schlingenseif.

Watch the Talk with Francis Kéré