Culminated Research for the Asian Challenge

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Table of Contents

Link Clearinghouse:


Nyaya Health:


from the client website, this slideshow is a great source to understand the architectural vernacular of the site: SLIDESHOW

Many general information about: geography, People, Government, Economy, Communicat's, Transportation, Military, Transnational Issues
here =>

Site and Context:

Here's an aerial video of the 'site' next to the 'new clinic' (former grain storage), as well as the multiple building clinic complex (yellow buildings) up on the hill. Since the actual site for the tele-medicine clinic is next to the solitary building in the beginning of this video, I'm not sure why they also show the multiple building complex. Perhaps just to give everyone some context on how close the 'clinic' facilities are to each other.

The new wording on the Asia Challenge page is "The tele-medicine center would be located next to the 'new clinic' (former grain storage) and it is hoped that their will be connectivity on the site of the abandoned hospital to allow future expansion of Nyaya Health." My interpretation is that they want communication connectivity to the hospital on the hill. See the Connectivity section of (repeated below.)

site photos:

Pertinent Information Taken from

There has been a prolonged debate over whether to build on the unfinished/abandoned hospital site at the top of the hill or the new clinic near the river. The following questions and answers were in a forum post dated 11/25/2007. The above video, which was posted on the main Asia Challenge page in December, appears to make these obsolete.
nyayahealth: Site visit will be done
Sun, 2007-11-25 14:52

Site visit will be done soon. please stay tuned for more information.

1. is the site up the hill or at the base,

the site is up the hill but on a flat land.

2. is it far removed from the village,

about an hour trek from the village at the base but there is a settlement right by the site as well.

3. is a portion of the site on a relatively flat area,

yes, more details after the site visit.

4. what is the relationship of the two acre site in question to the existing health clinic.

the two acre area includes several buildings. please look at the footprint for the size for the new building.

5. Is that existing health clinic to be abandoned or incorporated into this facility. Is that to our discretion

the existing clinic will not be abandoned. Please also note that the rules of the competition do not allow building on existing structures.

Thank you and we will try to answer questions as we can. After the site visit, more information will be available.

Geographical Context from Google Earth

Sanfe Bagar, Achham, Nepal lies in a river valley at an elevation of about 2000 feet.


General Context:

A telling picture of Sanfe Bagar Airport (5th paragraph down) with more information.

HEALTHCARE - A good story from an NGO worker travelling to Sanfe Bagar to build a hospital - some experiences from Andrew Chang's blog.
(This blog is a fantastic resource - It would be great to have Andrew as a part of the team - has anyone contacted him? - Keystone)++ Local Building Materials:

Anecdotal Information:

Minutes from phone conversatin with conversation with Stacy Sabraw, Program Manager for Architecture for Humanity

1.The building site has not being secured(which is why the site info is so vague)

2.There will be a site visit at the beginning of next month in which more site details will be acquired and provided to participants.

3.Deadline will be moved to late February.

4.She told me that, different from previous AFH competitions (where the designs are reviewed in terms of ease of execution and practicality), this one is a bit more conceptual. Practicality and ease of execution still a plus.

Far Link: My wife has done extensive public health and medical work abroad in both Africa and East Asia. Her experience with HIV counseling, family planning, and vitamin deficiency research is perfectly applicable to the Asian challenge. We also both life on the Yale campus and have multiple contacts within the Yale School of Medicine as she now attends their program (Yale medical school is specified in the partner list of the Nyaya health program). She would be a great resource when it comes to having a health consultant who has worked within and among such organizations abroad. She is perfectly willing to contribute to the design and I will also inquire about getting physicians from Yale Medical to possibly contribute as well (on a consultancy basis or something like it).

Architectural Precedents:

I found this article to be helpful:

from Wikipedia: "Most houses in rural Nepal are made up of a tight bamboo framework with mud and cow-dung walls. These dwellings remain cool in summers and retain warmth in winters. Dwellings in higher latitudes are mostly timber based."

Although, repeated at the end of this wiki document… here's a bunch of images of Nepalese vernacular architecture:

Information on Tele-Medicine Equipment:

i.e. of tele-medicine:

Possible Program Breakdown:

Medical components-zones: TOTAL 1140sf (60% of the program)

1. support zone-200sf
The support zone will house all important information and tools necessary for the successful performance of the
telemedicine clinic/center. Its structural integrity is more important that its spatial resiliency. Because if this it
could be interpreted as the structural spine/anchor of the facility. It needs to be able to deal with all weather
-server room -50sf
-pharmacy & storage of important patient information -100sf-expandable/resilient
-mechanical equipment and photovoltaic system-50sf

2. clinic zone-750sf
The clinic zone will house all medical spaces used by tenants. It resiliency is more important that it’s structural
integrity. It needs to be able to deal with all weather changes although some areas could be
retractable/collapsible when weather is at its worst.
-counseling rooms 2 @-50sf= 100sf expandable/resilient
-administrative office-150sf- expandable/resilient
-meeting/breakroom-150sf -expandable/resilient
- telemedicine/training room-200sf -expandable/resilient
-meeting space for health professionals-150sf -expandable/resilient

Total:950sf x 20%(circulation)=1140sf

Community components: TOTAL 800 sf(40% of the program)

-community library-300sf- expandable/resilient-consider locating a portion of the library in the support
-Computer lab-200sf -expandable/resilient
-Gathering-300sf -expandable/resilient

Universities to Possibly Collaborate With:

It appears this site is really remote. I really could not find a university within 200 miles of Sanfe Bagar that had an architectural department, or related discipline. I found this one in New Delhi however, which is about 250 miles Southeast of the site.,1370,-1019-1069,00.html
"In Nepal the Ball State delegation met with representatives at two sister schools: Tribhuvan University's Institute of Engineering and Pokhara University's Nepal Engineering College."

A Dutch ONG which is working in Nepal with building and resources:

Summarized and Pertinent Points from

I. General Approach to Telecommunications

Our approach will be incremental, focusing our actions on local epidemiology and capacity rather than on technology per se. The ultimate goal is to use our additional telecommunication capacity as a tool to improve health services delivery. Telemedicine does not replace a professional staff, effective generalist physicians, or an accountable health system; rather its success relies on these very factors. As such, our general approach is as follows:

· perform a baseline assessment of what are the perceived needs of the clinical staff, and how they might use the technology.

· utilize any combination of of phone, email, and file transfer media that is appropriate to the scenario; for the vast majority of applications, simple phone calls and store-and-forward strategies can achieve as excellent outcomes as real-time video.

· use telecommunications to improve staff morale and retention in remote areas

· use telecommunications to improve the awareness and interest of urban-based clinical experts in rural health, and encourage two-way exchange, including site visits

· rigorously develop epidemiological performance monitors and costing tools to assess the impact of our interventions; continuously ask the question of "amoxicillin or megabytes?" meaning do the benefits of the technology justify the costs?

· integrate the center into an overall development strategy that follows a path of economic empowerment rather than charity. activities at the center should seek to not only improve health services but also to increase economic opportunities, improve job prospects, and foster entrepreneurship.

II. Connectivity

Internet Connectivity

The first, basic, question that defines the scope and cost of possible applications is connectivity. For our initial applications (and indeed even for most applications long-term), all that would be needed would be dial-up speeds. In most of Achham, including Sanfe, where the clinic is located, even dial-up options are non-existent. There are no landlines over which to dial into the NTC roaming network. Wireless CDMA is an excellent option that can be found throughout Achham. It is highly affordable, requiring only a 50-60USD USB device and subsequently costs about 3 cents per MB. However, the CDMA towers in Silgadi and Mangalsen are located 40 km away. We had brought a 800-900MHz yagi antenna and wireless booster to the area, but it did not work out. We are actively exploring other options to capture the signal. Satellite is far superior in terms of reliability and speed; the issue is cost. VSAT presented a prohibitive up-front capital investment of $8000 for portal, transport, and licensing. It was thus with great reluctance (and knowing that many of our members would ask us did we follow our "amoxicillin or megabytes") when we purchased a BGAN with service through Inmarsat for 6$ per MB. We got this knowing that our staff could not be completely isolated from our colleagues in KTM and the US in our critical beginning phases, and that we would be doing mostly low-BW email communications. Looking long-term, we still hope to find an antenna-plus-booster for CDMA. Also, is rolling out Wi-Fi in rural areas and are thinking to come to Achham within the next few months. This could be a potentially exciting development for us.

Intra-District Connectivity

Communication between the villages and the clinic. Central to reaching the most remote villages and performing effective triage will be establishing a solid communication link between the clinic and the community health workers and healthposts. Many of the villages in the catchment area are 2-4 hours by foot to reach the clinic. Many of the problems encountered by the CHWs can be dealt with effectively in the village with some over-the-phone clinician support. There are three strategies here: 1) telephone landline; 2) CDMA phone; 3) two-way radio; 4) Wi-Fi. The advantage of telephone, where it exists, is that it taps into existing infrastructure at no added capital cost. Landlines, however, are currently not available at our clinic town nor in most of the outlying villages. CDMA phone is still unreliable in the more remote areas. We will be getting costing for the two-way radio soon. Wi-Fi is feasible, and is the approach taken by the Ministry of Health in their pilot programs. It requires an approximately $300 Wi-Fi antenna and a laptop on each end. It also requires a line-of-sight, which is the most challenging aspect in our hilly area. It does help that our main hub, the hospital, is on a hill.

III. Descriptions of Leadership Positions

The below two positions are critical to implementing the telecomm center effectively. Other workers will be hired by them as need be, but these two form the core leadership team at the center. Both of these positions are salaried.

Telecomm Director and Clinical Programs Manager

Rationale for Posting: This individual will provide overall management and strategic direction for the telecommunications center, as well as provide The telemedicine applications form the core of our telecommunications operations, since we are operating the center at a hospital. As such, the director will also run the telemedicine program. This should be an efficient use of the leadership talents of the manager.

Qualifications: Background in Hospital Management. Literate in spoken and written English. Strong familiarity with computers and networks. Passionate about development in Nepal. Leader able to inspire others to effective action.

Duties: Oversee operations of the telecommunications center. Provide vision and strategic direction to the center. Maintain equipment in good working condition and ensure adequate supply chain as necessary. Develop connections with consultants who will serve to respond to the clinicians’ requests. Works to improve connectivity between outlying villages and the hospital.

Educational and Microfinance Program Manager

Rationale for Posting: To make optimal use of the telecomm center by the community, a dedicated personnel will be on-site to manage educational and microfinance initiatives.

Qualifications: Background in education and computing, particularly among illiterate populations. Literate in written English. Strong familiarity with computers and networks. Passionate about development in Nepal. Leader able to inspire others to effective action. Also someone who can provide a link to healthcare education, as a direct linkage between our education and health programs.

Duties: Oversee operations of tele-education and telefinance programs. Assists telecomm director in all tasks. Performs outreach to neighboring communities. Key elements may include taking over responsibilities, as a paid staff member with local knowledge, for conducting Nyaya surveys and epidemiological assessments to help optimize our education and care.

IV. Planning

AMD and Open Architecture are sending a team out to Achham in early December. Below we provide an outline of the process of establishing the telecommunication center.

Community meeting

Aim: to discuss potential uses of the center

Facilitators: Nyaya Staff and local teachers

Agenda Items:

· Introduction of the project and the timeline. Emphasize that this only a preliminary, exploratory meeting

· Explanation of some of the possible uses in the areas of telemedicine, tele-education, and microfinance

· Dialogue on how to best benefit illiterate persons

· Discussion of community needs, desires, capacities

Site Assessment:

Note: Most of these tasks will be initiated by Nyaya staff prior to the OAN/AMD site visit

Location: Abandoned hospital in Bayalpata, Achham, lying approximately 6 km from Sanfe Bagar.

Detailed site layout:

· take lots of digital pictures for contestants

· draw layout and condition of all buildings

· power generation: nearest live power lines

· existing telecomm: CDMA signal, nearest landline lines.

· water sources: location, pressure, and quality

· road infrastructure: how much progress the government has made in bringing paved road up the hill

Construction Considerations:

· Nature and cost of local construction materials

o most traditional houses are built with clay

o clinic and hospital are made of cement and brick, both of which need to be transported from Dhangadi, a city to the South about 10 hours.

· Identify contractor and get better estimates

o construction contractor with building engineer will likely need to be found in Dhangadi for all but the most basic designs

o local labor will mostly be used.

Energy Considerations

· Sufficient air flow, appropriate use of natural shade sources, and proper insulation for cooling during summer (temperatures up to 110 degrees F).

· Appropriate solar positioning, proper insulation, and use of natural heating sources for warming during the winter (night time temperatures down to 0 degrees F).

· Design to best utilize renewable energy sources. Our 5 kW diesel generator will provide sufficient, reliable power for the entire small hospital and telecommunications center, but at significant environmental and financial cost.

Community Assessment

· local occupations almost exclusively agriculture and migrant work. of course some individuals involved in shopkeeping, teaching, restaurant.

· average transport to the clinic is about 2 hours by foot. 4 hours is not uncommon. people are accustomed to these long walking distances. CHWs will have to be trained and equipped with communications technology to develop an effective triage system.

Criteria from Nyaya Health for Evaluating Design Entries

Note that most of these overlap with the aims and goals of OAN/AMD

· Appropriate design to the area, using local labor and materials where possible

· Integrated physically and aesthetically with existing hospital structures. In fact, ideally, the design would be of a innovative renovation or addition of an existing structure. This would likely be the most cost-effective way to add on telemedicine services. While a true renovation may not be possible given the guidelines of the competition, an innovative addition should be achieveable within the guidelines.

· Adaptable for multiple and unforeseen uses

· Energy-efficient for all seasons

· Structure with the small earthquake

· Design is able to accommodate and integrate with alternative energy sources well

· Willingness on the part of the design team to travel to Achham for at least one site visit using funds from the design team and not from the OAN/AMD funds.

· Interest and dedication of the design team to stay engaged in the project long-term, with the understanding that “sustainable design” cannot be achieved without sustainable intellectual commitment post-design and construction.

Outstanding Concerns/Questions

Construction Contractor/Structural Engineer

The team does seem to be nearly complete: OAN provides the design, AMD provides the information technology technical assistance, and Nyaya Health provides the staffing and outreach.

The only missing piece of the team appears to be the structural engineer. Hopefully, most of the design teams will have a structural engineer working with them. Otherwise, this may just have to be contracted out to a local contractor. The only issue with this is that in our (limited) experience with these things, an excellent working relationship between the architects and the construction contractors/structural engineers is absolutely essential in achieving an effective implementation of the architect’s vision. The local contractors will implement the design to the extent possible, but their experience with more complex designs may be limited, and that may compromise achieving the original vision. We do have some colleagues through Engineers without Borders and through the University to act as consultants; the main cost of using their services would be paying for their travel and living expenses (maybe $300 per consultant).

Need to Focus on Function First, then Design and Technology

Our orientation towards telecommunication programming is to first identify the functionality that our clinical staff is lacking, and then identify the most appropriate technology to fit this need. We mention this only because it is quite tempting with a grant such as this to focus on how novel or innovative is the technology and design. For us, the innovation in design that we are looking for is how to best achieve the functionality we require, rather than the design per se. That is to say that the best design may be quite simple or “uninteresting” but may be able to achieve the best outcome in terms of cost, function, and flexibility. This is particularly true in the information technology realm. The reality is that most of the applications we need for store-and-forward and voice- or email-based clinical consultations can be adequately achieved with a reliable phone and dial-up internet connection (both of which are currently lacking in the area). While it may be tempting to invest in broadband services via satellite and high-speed computers to achieve real-time video, these really are far beyond the functionality that we actually need, and they come at a great cost.

Identifying and training local talent

Leadership is essential to the sustainability of the center. Labor is cheap, and finding competent staff is not an overly difficult challenge; rather, the big challenge is identifying a few passionate and effective managers to lead them. These leaders need to have a vision for change and a firm believe that Nepal can work for all Nepalis. Unfortunately, most of the literate (especially in English) and well-educated local individuals are 1) men and 2) interested in leaving achham for greener pastures. Defeatism [the belief that nothing works and we can’t make incremental change], owing to the dire economic situation and the weakness and disorganization of the government, is a rampant meme throughout rural Nepal. We will need to explore avenues for identifying and cultivating leaders who have not been infected by this meme. In the beginning, we anticipate obtaining leaders mostly from among people from outside Achham.

Engaging illiterate individuals in the process

We of course applaud AMD’s vision for 50% internet access by 2015. We interpret that to mean meaningful access, i.e., access that translates into effective utilization of information technology by the users. The greatest challenge to making that happen in Achham is female illiteracy. This is in fact a fundamental problem throughout the South Asian subcontinent, where approximately 50% of females remain illiterate. In Achham, that figure is at least 80%. This challenge is less a concern for the design period, and is mostly going to be met by the Nyaya Health team, but it is worth at least some thought by the design teams. Also would be good to concretely link the educational motivation for this project with the broader goal of improving community-based healthcare delivery: health education, access, preventive medicine as a key aspect of the educational initiatives based out of this center.

AMD Open Architecture Challenge | Asia

Enable families in a remote rural area of Nepal where there is only one doctor for a population of 250,000 to access healthcare from top physicians and medical professionals all over the world by building a tele-medicine center.

| Client |

Client: Nyaya Health

Location: Sanfe Bagar, Achham, Nepal

Client Web Site:

Client Description:

Nyaya Health is a community-based healthcare organization providing maternal and child health services to poor patients in the districts of Achham and Doti, Nepal. It provides free health services to an area of 440,000 people. About 740 out of every 100,000 women die in childbirth in this region. The organization have assembled a group of local community healthcare workers and midwives, who operate under a community-based board of directors, to provide antenatal and obstetrical services to women and children in this area.

The UN Development Program recently recognized the current program as a “model initiative”. In addition, the organization has produced a cross-border alliance with U.S. physicians to provide voluntary specialty services for severe health problems faced by people in this area; They need to establish a tele-medicine center to take advantage of this alliance and provide consistent services.


The clinic will serve a staff of 10 healthcare workers and 7,700 beneficiaries.

Need: :

This community is the poorest location in the poorest country in Asia. Most men are gone for 9 months of the year, because they migrate to work across the border in India (where they often acquire HIV). Women and children, often unsuspectingly infected with HIV, are left to tend to agricultural plots. However, poverty has been increasing in this area because of illnesses among women and children, preventing them from working or being able to attend school. We provide crucial health services to this area. However, our ability to provide services has been limited by (1) the lack of expertise to deal with increasing burdens of complicated infections, which “first world” doctors have the expertise to treat, (2) limited ability to regularly order supplies and pharmaceuticals from international shippers (since Nepal has limited drug manufacturing facilities) because we lack internet access, and (3) limited ability to facilitate training of local healthcare workers, who need internet access to attend online trainings. We have partnered with physicians at Yale School of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and University of California San Francisco, who have agreed to provide voluntary expert consultations and access to Yale’s online medical resources if we develop tele-medicine facilities.

The clinic serves 7,700 patients per year on average. We estimated 20% of that population needs medical consultations via tele-medicine services. There are no other healthcare facilities in the region. In addition, the facility would greatly benefit our staff of 10 healthcare workers, who would receive much greater training to assist them in providing health services.

| Program |

Competitors are challenged to design a tele-medicine/health facility and a community technology center for the local NGO, Nyaya Health. Located in the rural town of Sanfe Bagar in the Achham district of western Nepal, this facility will provide medical services to the town and surrounding villages.

In the region there is one doctor for every 250,000 people, and this tele-medicine center will allow staff from Nyaya Health to provide access to medical expertise from around the globe.

The proposed facility will allow local healthcare workers to:

• provide more accurate diagnosis and treatment via tele-medicine consultations and training sessions with international physicians
• communicate reliably and regularly with U.S. physicians who will provide interpretations of X-rays, laboratories and drug susceptibility assays
• provide internet access to medical databases and training programs to optimize patient care
• access open-source software packages designed to facilitate the rapid procurement of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies
• provide computer training and internet access to the community at-large
• provide a public gathering space for the exchange of health information and other community services

Design Considerations:

Participants are challenged to incorporate the needs of the community and to employ sustainable and/or local building material using local labor to realize their design. Designers should also take into account the remote nature of the site and costs associated with transporting materials in developing their designs.

Space Considerations:

Approximately 40% of the building will be open to the public and used as a community computer lab and training facility. The other 60% of the building will be dedicated to the provision of medical services including, obstetric and nursing training; telemedicine exchanges and X-ray interpretation with oversees medical professionals; patient consultation; and offices to manage medical files and order pharmaceutical supplies.

Telemedicine Center

Site area: 2 acres
Total facilities footprint: 175 m2
Total occupancy: 40

Medical Components
• counseling rooms (2)
• administrative office (1)
• multi-purpose meeting room/break room
• server closet
• AV telemedicine consultation/training room
• multi-purpose meeting space for health professionals
• storage/pharmacy

Community Components/Public Space
• community library
• multi-purpose gathering space
• community computer lab

| Site |

Sanfe Bagar is a rural town on the foothills of the Himalayas in Western Nepal


| Environment |

Climate: Alpine
Temperature: 10-24C
Rainfall: 1250mm.Nepal experiences monsoon rains from June to September
Latitude: 29N
Longitude: 81E

Special Conditions

Earthquakes, epidemics, fires, landslides and debris flow, floods, hailstorms, thunderbolts and windstorms. Every year, mainly during the monsoon, landslides and debris flow cause damage to agricultural land and human settlements.

| Construction Budget |

Total Construction Budget: $32,000 USD

Technology Design Considerations from

The following technology design considerations were created by AMD and the 50x15 partners and are meant as a guideline for entrants of the AMD Open Architecture Challenge

50x15 creates and sustains digital inclusion ecosystems needed to spread computing capability and Internet access around the world.

50x15 ecosystems are created by ensuring that local solutions for the six key areas of a successful digital inclusion deployment are thoughtfully considered.

The six key areas of a digital inclusion ecosystem are:

  • -Power
  • -Connectivity (Networking)
  • -Devices (Technology)
  • -Expertise (Training)
  • -Content
  • -Financing

AMD is exploring a 7th key area of a digital inclusion deployment;

  • -Structure Design
  • The need to design a structure with power, connectivity, technology and training in mind as it relates to digital inclusion.

Once the ecosystem partners and their solutions are established, AMD and the 50x15 partners develop a 50x15 Learning Lab. Learning labs are measured, strategic deployments of technology solutions used to gain knowledge on how best to foster digital inclusion worldwide. The learning from the AMD Open Architecture Challenge will be encapsulated in a document for all to use in replicating additional digital inclusion centers.

In designing the structure for a digital inclusion center whether a telemedicine center, technology or community/job training center the following areas need to be considered in respect to the technology it will house and the people welcomed to use it:

  • -HVAC (Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning)
  • -Ergonomics and Comfort
  • -Privacy
  • -Security
  • -Water and Sanitation
  • -Nourishment
  • -Waste Management

The following is a list of items for Architects to consider when submitting designs for the Challenge.


The power to the center can be supplied by wind, solar, power grid, battery back up or a combination. The 3 most common power solutions are grid, grid plus battery back-up and solar plus battery back-up. It is important that these systems are professionally installed and proper grounding is used.

Battery back-up systems are very common. When using battery back up system; the batteries should be as far away from people as possible for safety. The lead acid in batteries can degrade over time and become a caustic agent. Low maintenance, deep cycle batteries are recommended. They are very heavy.

Often, other power management devices are needed as well, including power strips, power stabilizers and UPS systems.

Consider a rack shelf or an innovative way to organize the devices. They should be out of the way and in a ventilated space

Place computer servers higher than batteries to allow the heat from the servers to rise; if they are located in the same room

Power should be deployed in modular and flexible way depending on usage of the structure

The ability to shut down sections of the space to reduce power consumption (turn off the medical lab if only the café is in operation)

Consider access to power outside of the structure that can be used as an alternate source of income for the center. Power source for charging a cell phone through a coin operated access.

Power Jacks; consider at what level they are placed to limit access to bugs, animals etc. Floor access not recommended

Access to emergency back up. In the case of a power outage access to an emergency generator or external source of power needs to be provided in a secure way to power the facility.

Solar panels; ensure security for solar panels, they are considered the hottest commodity around. (see security)

It is common for the solar panels to be placed on the roof of the structure which houses the ICT equipment. The roof must be sturdy enough to handle several 60 – 120 watt panels and designed in a way that they can maximize power generation.

Wind turbines

Consider a high solar array that provides a beacon for community information; use structure as a larger communication vehicle such as a billboard.


Various types of Internet Connectivity may be used as follows:

Wireless broadband, which will require space for an antenna receiver, ideally on the highest point available, such as the roof or tower (see below)
Mobile carrier data services, which has a small device footprint and can be located inside the building
Standard wired DSL or dial-up (unlikely in rural areas)
Satellite, which will require space for a satellite dish near the facility

Consider a multi-use tower configuration that acts as lighting rod and flexible hard point base for Satellite, Wi-Fi, Wi-Max (broader range than Wi-Fi), PA system

All tower elements need to be easy to access but also deter people from climbing it
All tower elements need to be properly grounded.
Consider a core to building that becomes the tower, if the roof breaks the tower does not break


Configuration of computer stations

For education setting; consider clear visibility of all monitors by teacher/moderator to supervise students work and ensure that they are not accessing inappropriate material

Consider more than one chair per computer station

The demand exceeds availability; classroom and training settings typically cluster users up to 4 users per station
Children learn by example; four kids often surround a station, one typing, another spelling, a third pointing at the screen and the fourth driving the mouse, rarely do we see a one to one ratio of computer to user
Consider seating height for children and adults

Consider a multi-use technology area; day time teaching area converted to an evening internet café or entertainment screening area; devices and their associated furnishings need to be designed to be mobile based on varying uses.

Cable protection

Cables and wiring need to be secured from both users of the system as well as potential pests (bugs, animals) which can chew through cabling and like to nest in devices.
Consider incorporating PVC or other piping as conduit for cables where possible.

Expertise (Training)

Consider a multi-use teaching space, modular design to create one large or several small teaching areas.

Consider where clear space can be used as a projection wall

Projectors are often used as teaching aids to project what is on the monitor to a larger audience. Larger, low power flat screens may also be used.
Consider also using this open area for the following
Technical, general education, health, agriculture, language, or other training
Evening entertainment; movies, sports
Public service announcements
Note: creating a light source where there originally has not been one may create a beacon for insects

Spaces within the environment are necessary for the community to be able to change and manipulate as a local bulletin board and decorative example of local culture.


Projection wall (see expertise/training)

A multi-lingual center may require a pictographic signage system throughout the center

Consider a multi-use center with diverse age groups may require blocking an adult training area from children due to content

See 50x15 Learning Lab capsules for other content considerations


To be ensure the longevity of this center it must be financially sustainable

Consider a secure area
Every aspect of the center must have multiple uses to ensure that it provides varying sources for revenue


Consider how heat and dust can be damaging to technology; proper temperature control is essential

Consider window panels to keep heat out in the summer and allow heat in during the winter


Consider the types of content that may be accessed; financial transactions may require more privacy than educational content

For telemedicine centers; separate diagnostic area

Consider modular and portable privacy walls to create small changing or exam rooms

Louvered systems to funnel natural light for examinations


Consider hard points on the roof structure to screw in wi-fi and solar panels

Consider hard points to allow secure access inside the structure and eliminate external screws; if there are no bolts outside the building the panels cannot be stolen from the outside

Location of the most valuable items in a centralized hub;

Consider securing items in the center of the building (or most secure part of the building. Some of these items may be movable and may require a secure storage room.

Consider securing computers individually to the desks


Consider people may be traveling great distances to the center

Create kitchen or eating area for general use

E-café for socialization,

Liquids need to be kept clear of technology
Consider tear drop trailer design, keep food separated from the rest of the center to provide a safe, secure and clean space

Access to Fresh Water

Rain water collection and filtration system
Solar powered pump to direct water where needed

Solar Cooking

Self service cooking area important when loved ones are obtaining long-term medical treatment
Pasteurization/Sterilization of clear fluids

Waste Management

Consider alternate use for packaging from technology

system cartons, monitor cartons
printer ink toners

Organic Waste from e-café

Adobe Construction




Images of Nepalese Vernacular Architecture

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