Mine Community Buildings

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A community clinic for mineworkers

  • Location: Sierra Leone
  • Status: Completed

A healthy workforce are a vital aspect of a productive and sustainable mining operation. To this end the client required a clinic that is intended to serve the mineworkers themselves and their families. The Clinic is located near to the Main Entrance but outside the secure zone so that it is easily accessible from the nearby village where most of the workers and their families live.

The entrance, reception and pharmacy are located in the central wing. On the one side are the consulting and examination rooms; on the other side are the emergency treatment rooms, offices and critical care room. Furthest from the entrance are the wards.

An outside, shaded waiting planted courtyards between each of the wings give a cool and healthy outdoor area for recuperation and to cool the buildings. The modular and discrete individual buildings which make up the whole clinic can be readily duplicated for future expansion of the Clinic.

Open shaded walkways connect the buildings and line the one side of both the front courtyards, contributing to a cool internal environment.

An expressed masonry structural frame with brick infill panels, mesh screens and glazed windows make up the walls with a deep overhanging roof with ridge ventilators to provide shelter and shade from the relentless tropical sun.

A community police station

  • Location: Koidu Mine, Siera Leone

At Koidu Mine, a police station was included in the brief as part of their corporate social responsibility program. In a society that recently lived through the horror of a brutal civil war, it was important to establish a police station that is dignified and imbued with a sense of authority, but that it approachable and seen to serve society and not as a tool of oppression.

In order to make the police station seem familiar, VCA researched local building typologies and designed a building that reflected aspects of these, namely a font porch as a layer of social space between the public street and the offices; deep roof eaves to shelter and shade the building; attention to the design of windows, doors and roof ventilation to facilitate natural ventilation.

Minimizing the solar gain is achieved by having only small high level windows on the west façade, the east façade windows are protected from low angle sun by the deep porch. The long facades facing north and south are shaded by the deep eaves. This is a strategy which was adopted for all the buildings VCA designed on the mine.

The street façade is dignified and welcoming

The street façade has a porch which serves as the waiting area, before entering the charge offices. The holding cells are at the rear and there are sleeping quarters for the offices between shifts.