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The Living Room Hospice/Hospital
(# 815)
Images Description Credits
Completion 2016
Square Footage 55,000
Budget $6,200,000 (all phases)
Specific Use of Building Health care campus with ministry support buildings
Project Location Eldoret, Kenya
The Living Room Hospital in Eldoret, Kenya, is a first-of-its-kind hospice campus in eastern Africa, facilitating palliative care, physical therapy, health counseling, and spiritual care in a sustainable development model for the Kenyan-American not-for-profit Living Room Ministries International.

INTERNATIONAL DESIGN TEAM
The design process for the 8 acre campus required a unique collaboration between American and Kenyan design professionals.  Beginning solely with a low-resolution aerial photo and a rough approximation of the steep topography, the American architect developed an initial design parti, program, master plan, massing models and renderings sufficient for preliminary fundraising efforts. The design team then traveled to Eldoret for a weeklong onsite charrette with the Kenyan architect, empowering local professionals to develop the design while retaining the essential elements of the program and owner’s goals.

GARDENS FOR THE HOSPICE COMMUNITY
The site visits revealed that a previous generation of colonial-era residents had planted now-mature specimen trees from around the world as a kind of arboretum at the heart of the site.  This completely shifted the original concept towards rehabilitating the existing landscape into a park-like therapeutic environment.  Within the week, the team redesigned to final campus plan to preserve as many existing trees as possible, capture views and develop vehicular and pedestrian pathways to minimize grading, maintain general drainage patterns and provide wheelchair access.

CREATING A SACRED PLACE OF PEACE 
The master plan includes a 49-bed inpatient hospital for adults and children; an outpatient clinic for physical therapy and counseling, laboratory, pharmacy, kitchen, and administrative and support services, arranged in a crescent around a series of lush garden terraces.  An exterior perimeter road provides emergency access and quiet, discreet circulation for hospice guests and supplies.  Onsite timber was also repurposed into outdoor furniture and walkways, ceiling finishes, trellises, and -most importantly - a large, wood beam chapel which is both the physical and spiritual center of the site.  Buildings were designed with sufficient cross ventilation to take advantage of the fresh air and mild climate.

Flexibility was critical to the success and sustainability of the development in meeting unique design challenges.  As a palliative care hospice, the steep site needed to be wheelchair accessible; for physiotherapy, it also needed to include mobility challenges to train guests with physical skills for the next stage of life in an environment that may not be designed for accessibility.  The buildings themselves reflect local construction techniques, utilizing heavy bond beams as a combination eave/cornice to tie the masonry walls together while providing a muscular design aesthetic.  The landscape architect adeptly repurposed stone, wood and found objects onsite for sculpture and for children’s play elements.

The American architect was grateful for the opportunity to develop the initial master plan, and provide conceptual and schematic design; then assist, collaborate and release the final design, engineering, and construction to capable and emerging talent of Kenyan professionals.

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