Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) Open Architecture Challenge: Namaste – A Telemedicine Center in Nepal

Summer 2008  

The design of a sustainable, low-cost health and technology facility in Nepal.

This project was conceived as part of the Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) Open Architecture Challenge. This international design competition conceived by Cameron Sinclair of Architecture for Humanity challenged the design community to develop sustainable, multi-purpose, low-cost facilities for developing world regions. Three students, Jeff Fong, Adam Voorhees, Brooke Woosley, from the Department of Environmental Design developed the project in an independent study with faculty advisors Robert Ball and James Meraz

Design Brief

The team chose to design a health facility and community technology center for Nyaya Health, an NGO located in rural Sanphe Bagar, Nepal.


Namaste Telemedicine Center: The purpose was to come up with a design to support the services of local NGO Nyaya Health, a community-based healthcare organization in remote and rural Sanphe Bagar, Nepal. The NGO provides free maternal and child healthcare to impoverished at-risk patients. In designing this medical and technology center, students took into consideration sustainable and local building materials, difficult and varied climate conditions, the need for versatility in room sizes and configurations, and most importantly, the incorporation of local traditions to make the center appropriate and relevant to the community it would be serving.

An invaluable feature of the design proposed incorporated telemedicine, which connects healthcare workers and patients in rural areas to international medical professionals, medical databases, training, and more rapid procurement of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies.



Structure and materials

The facility’s structure is a direct response to the extreme weather conditions characteristic of the environment. For example, the butterfly roof framing allows for water to be collected and irrigated. All the materials specified to build the Center are locally harvested. Another feature of the design borrows from the Nepalese art of weaving, in that weaving is the meeting of diverse materials to make one unified fabric. This technique is incorporated into the walls of the facility, making the rooms easily reconfigurable. Using this familiar craft of weaving also serves as a tool to build bridges between people, health, education, and the future.