Lepers Hospital - Aga Khan Award for Architecture
Aga Khan Development Network

Lepers Hospital

Lepers Hospital
Location: Lasur, India (South Asia)
Architect: Per Christian Brynildsen and Jan Olav Jensen
Client: Norwegian Free Evangelical Mission, India Trust
Completed: 1995
Site size: 8'000 m²

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Lepers Hospital Project Brief

In 1983, Brynildsen and Jensen, then architectural students, visited the missionaries Clara and Leif Lerberg, who were ministering to lepers. The Lerbergs had been given a site by the local authorities for a leper hospital about 13 km from Chopda. The architects were asked by Mrs. Lerberg to devise a site plan for the facility that would provide a safe haven, a treatment centre, and headquarters for a village-to-village nursing programme. Brynildsen and Jensen created an elongated rectangular plan, bounded by continuous linear buildings that enclose a courtyard conceived as a paradise garden". Indigenous materials were used throughout. The boulder rock walls are load-bearing. Roofs are barrel vaults of brick resting on concrete beams on top of the walls. The vaults are held in tension by 20 mm steel rods. Floors are stone slab, window sills of slate stone, and the finished roofs of white glazed tiles that reflect the sun's heat. Openings are spanned by stone slabs or brick arches. Window frames and doors are of teak, and door frames are steel. More than 70 people worked on the site, and the only machine tools consisted of a truck used to transport materials and a concrete vibrator. Today, the Lepers Hospital serves hundreds of out-patients. Live-in patients work the fields around the enclave, and tend buffaloes for their milk. In the courtyard, trees and flowers give beauty and shade. The jury commended the architects for creating "an attractive and friendly sheltering enclave, within a barren and hostile environment. Out of minimal architectural form, they devised a design of stark simplicity that radiates calm."

1998 Award Recipients