Culture has undeniable influences on the built forms of the societies in which it is found in. The contemporary maternity design process in Kenya focuses mainly on service delivery, and while this model works for the more culturally diverse urban centers, the
marginalized communities struggle to identify with these healthcare spaces.
By understanding the culture, one is able to come up with solutions that are appreciated by the community. This study focuses on a critical analysis into the elements of culturally sensitive hospital design that have been successfully employed in marginalized regions across Sub Sahara Africa and Kenya in particular. This regions face harsh climatic conditions that undermine both the access to healthcare and comfort of patients in hospitals. Therefore, the goal is to study how to harness appropriate solutions from local architecture and transmit it seamlessly into modern hospital design to come up with a fitting solution for these communities.
The study will sample data obtained from three maternities across Africa that have successfully transmitted the local culture into their design. These will cases located within different communities across Turkana, and Karamajong of the Uganda. The maternities chosen all service communities with specific cultural preferences from religion (as is the case with the predominantly Islamic Bukediareg ion), to the conservative Turkana in Kenya. Through field work and desk reviews of these hospitals, a critical analysis will be drawn that will inform on appropriate conclusions. In addition, a quick study into the local architecture by random sampling will be undertaken to provide the basis on which to draw appropriate strategies from.
The study seeks to establish a pattern of connection between appropriately supporting vernacular traditions to ensure sustainable solutions (Paul Oliver, 2006) and access to health care in these marginalized regions. Also, since culture is a complex whole (Tylor,
1871) that cuts across various aspects of lifestyle, the study will establish a link between the cultural character of a place and transmission of skills and values to contemporary maternity design.
Although the communities in the selected regions reside in hot and dry climate, they have very different approaches to environmental response although ultimately resulting in sustainable solutions that can be borrowed from in the modern maternity design process.