“Sambhavna is a model example of environmentally appropriate healthcare architecture, which is at the same time low cost and low maintenance. Through creative interpretation and not by being restricted by the low budget, the design successfully illustrates that even with the help of inexpensive materials; high quality architecture can be generated that does not require any maintenance. Employing the local vernacular, this ‘green health centre’ has used traditional building techniques and local materials in their natural form and colour, such as brick, locally available stone, earthen tiles and bamboo. The sense of relation of the users to these materials and aesthetics further inculcate a sense of ownership in them.
The low height structures woven around courtyards, characteristic of traditional Indian architecture, lead to a sense of comfort and belonging in them.It is often the poor or post-conflict areas that need sensitive and good design interventions the most; through its careful integration of aesthetics and sustainable design strategies, the architecture has managed to address the vision of the Sambhavna Trust. From a small, makeshift clinic to the two acre site with healthcare standards that are now being lauded at the world level, Sambhavna stands as a successful example of socially as well as environmentally aware architecture. Designing for a socio-cultural change of this nature, requires for the identification and a careful interpretation of the needs of its users and brief as the project architect Jeeth Iype explains, “… It could even be pieces of sketches people have made, it could be poetry, it could be prose … the brief is a very interesting document where you get as many inputs as possible… there is a lot of human behavioural science research that is in designing buildings… [architects] have to learn that, otherwise you will be designing only brick and mortar and not a living building.Employing bioclimatic design, the building has been designed for the hot, local climate of Madhya Pradesh.
The design has been planned around courtyards for passive cooling and day lighting, which also act as open community spaces. The site also makes extensive use of rainwater recharge and harvesting, as well as greywater for irrigation. Through simple indigenous techniques and traditional elements such as chajjas, verandahs, jaalis and cavity walls, the building manages to be naturally ventilated as well as day lit. For its artificial lighting and other power requirements, it uses solar energy.The building effectively demonstrates the relationship between an environmentally conscious architecture and ecological healthcare. Through its environment management design, it has integrated landscape, trees, grey water, rainwater, storm water, solid waste management and energy. Moreover, in its endeavour to ‘create possibilities through compassion’; it has proven that it is ‘possible to evolve simple, safe, effective, ethical and participatory ways of treatment.