Take a look at the beautiful brick hospital the Albers Foundation is building in Senegal
The foundation is putting an ancient building material to a new use with architect Manuel Herz
Anni and Josef Albers were among the best-known modernists, unwilling to be held back by tradition and unnecessary ornament, throughout their careers as artists, designers and educators. Our book, Anni & Josef Albers, presents their life and work as never before, from their formative years at the Bauhaus in Germany to their remarkable influence at Black Mountain College in the United States through their intensely productive period in Connecticut.
However, despite their shared progressive outlook, Josef Albers always appreciated the architectural opportunities afforded by that most traditional of building materials - the brick.
Anni and Josef Albers features images of the decorative brick wall Josef designed for the graduate student accommodation at Harvard University in 1950, as well as the brick altar wall he made for St Patrick’s Church in Oklahoma City in 1961, and the brick fireplaces he created for the houses of the fellow Yale professor, architect King-lui Wu. Now, 45 years on from Josef Albers’ death, the Albers Foundation is helping build a thoroughly contemporary, brick building in West Africa.
The foundation is helping to fund the creation of a maternity and paediatric clinic in the punishingly hot city of Tambacounda, central, southern Senegal, designed by the German architect Manuel Herz. The architect is building this sinuous new construction with cooling, locally produced, brick.
“The new maternity and paediatric clinic at Tambacounda Hospital is a two-storey, curvilinear building,” explains Herz’s practice. “It combines the two clinics - paediatrics and maternity - in the same building.”
“It is located to the north of the existing paediatric clinic and revolves around it, then changes direction to create a new, semi-closed, north-facing courtyard,” the practice goes on. “The curvilinear layout creates a building with sensual quality while ensuring that almost no trees need to be cut for its construction.”
Herz’s practice is currently completing the building, just as the Albers Foundation’s funding drive for the place draws to a close. You can find out more about their charity auction, co-hosted by the chef and art lover Daniel Humm here; for more on the Albers’ life and work take a look at Anni & Josef Albers; and for more on the ancient and contemporary use of brick, get our book Brick.