Connecting Care: A Network of Health + Research in the Tonle Sap

Project Team:
    • Shelby Doyle
    • Matthew Dunn Associate Professor of Interior Design
    • Jessamin Straub
    • Leandro Couto de Almeida

The growing urban condition of Tonlé Sap Lake requires unconventional methods of development that address the unique biophysical demands of this ecosystem and its human settlement. The dramatic flood pulse between wet and dry seasons poses a distinct set of challenges to traditional infrastructure; Tonlé Sap’s fluctuating ecology and hydrology demands visionary architecture that engages with these dynamic environmental conditions. The proposed framework for health care, research, and education, facilitate a plan for architecturally connecting ecological and human systems.

Architecture is presented as a continuation of the Tonlé Sap’s dynamic processes: multiple methods for supporting complex interactions between humans and natural systems. This project proposes a structural network that provides medical aid, water quality research and monitoring, and education as a strategy for mounting ecological and sanitation challenges. Each node embraces a different response to flooding: the Lake Health Center is elevated above the water on stilts, the Clinic + Research Boats are mobile across the lake, and the Clinic + Research Buoys are tethered in place, rising and falling with changing water levels, creating a responsive wayfinding infrastructure. Human health is directly related to the ecological health and productivity of Tonlé Sap Lake and this design integrates existing environmental conditions as a strategic measure with which to gauge solutions.