Iwan Baan

The Butaro Ambulatory Cancer Center in Rwanda by Mass Design Group


From MASS Design Group

[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]he Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence (BCCE) is the first comprehensive cancer center in East Africa. Developed for Partners In Health, who are pioneering the movement towards non-communicable disease care in sub-Saharan Africa, and funded generously in part by the Jeff Gordon Foundation, the BACC adjoins the Butaro District Hospital and administers IV chemotherapy in an outpatient setting.

The clinic’s chemotherapy hall is designed to be a patient-centric space. Its infusion chairs arranged radially around central pods for ease of physician access. The arrangement allows each patient access to the exterior through an operable pivot door façade, bringing the beautiful landscape and vista of the Virunga mountain range directly into the infusion room.

A ventilation system completed with engineers at Big Ass Fans maximizes natural air flow and uses strategically located UVGI lights to neutralize harmful pathogens. Moreover the clinic incorporates all outdoor circulation and waiting areas, and is strategically separated from the sick, admitted patients at the nearby hospital, all in an effort to protect cancer patients with weakened immune systems. The state-of-the-art facility and much of the equipment were built with locally sourced materials, custom-assembled on site. Expanding upon the craft innovation and skills-training practices first deployed on the Butaro Hospital, the facility’s construction created jobs for over 550 people.


Courtesy architect magazine
  • Project:  Butaro Ambulatory Cancer Center, Butaro Hospital, Burera District, Rwanda
  • Client:  Ministry of Health in partnership with Partners in Health
  • Architect:  MASS Design Group, Boston and Kigali, Rwanda
  • M/E, Civil, and Structural Engineer:  MASS Design Group with Kayihura Nyundo from Ubatsi
  • Interior and Lighting Designer:  MASS Design Group
  • General Contractor:  Partners In Health
  • Construction Manager:  Joas Peter Ngendabanga
  • Size:  400 sqm

Materials and Sources

  • Ceilings:  Custom-fabricated steel frame and painted plywood
  • Concrete:  Hand-mixed on site
  • Exterior Wall Systems:  CMUs produced on site
  • Fabrics and Finishes:  Locally sourced African patterned fabric
  • Flooring:  Terrazzo; SAJ Tile
  • Furniture and Millwork:  Custom-fabricated
  • HVAC:  Big Ass Fans
  • Masonry and Stone:  Locally sourced volcanic stone
  • Paints and Finishes:  Ameki Color
  • Roofing:  Tolirwa
  • Wayfinding:  Custom-fabricated signage designed by MASS Design Group
  • Windows:  Custom-fabricated steel windows
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