Rwandan Doctors’ Housing Wins Architecture Award


Housing for doctors at Butaro Hospital in Rwanda, supported by the Daniel E. Ponton Fund at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, has been awarded the Buro Happold Effectiveness Award by World Architecture News (WAN). The honor, part of the annual WAN Awards contest for excellence in architecture,  celebrates designs that have made a positive impact on society.

Three years ago, a group from Brigham and Women’s Hospital traveled to Butaro, Rwanda, to visit a newly built hospital supported by Partners In Health. The group included BWH President Betsy Nabel, Surgeon-in-Chief Michael Zinner, MD, and Daniel E. Ponton, philanthropist and co-owner of Club Colette who was successfully treated at BWH for a life-threatening brain tumor. Ponton saw how the housing shortage made it difficult to attract and retain qualified medical staff, and his foundation — the Daniel E. Ponton Fund at Brigham & Women’s Hospital—subsequently funded and built the Butaro Doctors’ Housing project, which was designed by the MASS Design Group.

All building materials were produced on site, and hundreds of workers were trained in masonry, carpentry and other skills. A goal of the housing project was to create a more sustainable rural health care system, and since the residences opened last fall, physicians from Rwanda and other countries have lived in the new housing while providing care at the hospital and educating the next generation of young Rwandan clinicians.

According to an editorial in World Architecture News announcing the winner, the judges were “won over by the care and attention paid to the Housing from the ground up – the use of local craftsmen, sustainable, local resources, and even the graceful final touches of interior decor.” Read the editorial.