Ethiopian Health Centers

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Architect: Bet Architects
Client: Tetra Tech Ethiopia, USAID, Ministry of Health of the FDRE
Location: All Around Ethiopia
Involvement of AEE: Total Structural Design
Design Status: Under Construction




The project consists of carrying out complete structural design, drawing and costing for prototypical design for 90 health centers to be built at different sites all around Ethiopia. A center would have more than 500m2 of built up area with different health center functions that could be later expanded easily to a higher level health institution and even become a referral hospital. This is afforded through a smart architectural design that uses modular arrangement of blocks. This modular design is also maintained in the structural design so that possible expansions are handled with minimum inconvenience to existing functions as envisaged.A rigorous study of the feasibility of different structural systems for the foundation and the roofing has been carried out so that international health standards and engineering code provisions are met without unduly costing the client and inconveniencing the contractors.Raft foundation system was found to be most efficient in terms of constructability, structural performance and life time costs. For the sites with expansive soil types, stiffened mat system has been used.A truss system with minimum onsite welding was opted for in consideration of international/ US fire standards, ease of workmanship both for initial erection and further maintenance and economy. Locally available steel profiles have been used. One of the challenges that have been handled in this structural steel construction is the design of the joints as it relates to lateral stability.An obvious challenge in prototypical structural design is the definition of loads and design parameters. We thoroughly studied the salient possibilities and finally decided on maximum and minimum wind pressures, earthquake zones and bearing capacity values for the global design and the design of pertinent structural elements by using available soil test results, international earthquake hazard maps, Ethiopian Building Code Standard values. As pointed above, the expansive nature of soil has been one parameter that has influenced our design.As part of this project, we were also entrusted with the site adaptation of 5 sites in SNNPR which we carried out with utmost care as we do other works.