Project's Summary

Ross Langdon Health Education Centre: A Tribute to an Architectural Genius

The Ross Langdon Health Education Centre is a small community hall situated in the village of Mannya in Rakai, South-western Uganda. Designed by the late Ross Langdon, an Australian architect who tragically lost his life in the Westgate attacks in Nairobi, the Centre provides a space for about 150 people. It boasts of a small elevated platform for speakers and simple clay tile steps for seating. Adjacent to the hall is a room for private meetings and a store, while a pergola-covered walkway provides shade for informal gatherings and relaxation.

A Pavilion of Simplicity and Elegance

As good as we can tell in his absence, Ross envisioned the Health Education Centre as a small pavilion made of the most basic building materials available in Southern Uganda. The pavilion is entirely inward-looking and features eucalyptus poles as the main structure, with clay brick infills and clay tile floors. Filtered light enters the building through perforations in the brickwork, a gap between the walls and roof, a high-level roof vent with skylight, and 'Liters of Light' illuminating the stage area. The roof cover is made of zinc-al roof sheets supported by Eucalyptus trusses, while the ceiling is made of purpose-designed handmade 'Mukeka' reed mats.

A Building that Does Justice to the Architect's Vision

Following Ross' death, the Cotton On Foundation from Australia approached Uganda-based Studio FH Architects with the request to complete the design and help implement it as close as possible to the originator's intentions. Felix Holland, the principal architect at Studio FH and a personal friend of Ross, assembled a team of dedicated designers and builders to realize a building that we hope does justice to the ideas and visions of the architect. The team went on a detective mission, deciphering Ross' design intentions, guessing at times and disagreeing at others, and finally realizing a building that stands as a tribute to an architectural genius.

A Testament to the Power of Chameleon Architecture

In his short career spanning across Australia, the UK, and East Africa, Ross Langdon left behind a multitude of designs, all imaginatively tailored to location, climate, materials, and users. His inexhaustible passion for 'Chameleon Architecture' is evident in the Ross Langdon Health Education Centre, a building that blends seamlessly with its surroundings. The Centre is more than just a community hall; it is a testament to the power of architecture to transform lives and communities. Ross may be gone, but his legacy lives on through his designs, and the Health Education Centre stands as a lasting tribute to his memory.

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