July 4, 2018 - Josef and Anni Albers Foundation - Manuel Herz: winning architect for Tambacounda Hospital expansion project
e-flux Architecture
July 4, 2018
July 4, 2018

Josef and Anni Albers Foundation

Connection between the existing buildings and the new extension. Image: Play-Time. © Manuel Herz Architects.

Manuel Herz: winning architect for Tambacounda Hospital expansion project
A project by the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation


The rural hospital of the Tambacounda region in Senegal will undergo a transformative and essential expansion by the award-winning architect Manuel Herz, conceived and funded by the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation and Le Korsa. Following a selection process from a shortlist of international architecture firms, the acclaimed Switzerland-based architect’s proposal has been selected to enhance the existing structure, with construction commencing in September 2018.

The Tambacounda Hospital extension is the culmination of a long-standing relationship between the Albers Foundation and Senegal, which in 2015 launched THREAD, designed pro bono by celebrated New York based architecture firm Toshiko Mori, a cultural centre for local inhabitants of the rural village of Sinthian.

This latest initiative builds upon the Albers Foundation’s work with THREAD, to further support the local community in Senegal, this time with the redevelopment of the maternity and paediatric clinics of the regional hospital in Tambacounda. The only major hospital in the region, it is a vital resource, servicing around 20,000 patients per year from the surrounding area, stretching across the border into Mali. The doctors work under extremely difficult conditions; the current hospital design leaves the communal spaces desperately overcrowded with patients and families compelled to await treatment in the heat on corridor floors, and children forced to share beds in the wards. As Nicholas Fox Weber, Executive Director of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, says: “Josef Albers often spoke of the use of ‘minimal means for maximum effect;’ the low budget for this building that will do so much for so many people, and turn an exceedingly difficult situation into a positive one, requires an architect capable of alchemy. Manuel Herz was the unanimous choice. His approach shows a mix of visual flare, practical understanding, and profound humanitarianism.”

Herz explains that the design “aims at becoming a model and new paradigm for medical institutions in Senegal and for the African continent as a whole.”


About the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation
In 1971, Josef and Anni Albers, established a nonprofit organisation to further “the revelation and evocation of vision through art.” 25 years later in 1997, the cornerstone of The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation (JAAF), designed by Tim Prentice and Lo-Yi Chan, was laid.

Located on a beautiful woodland site in Bethany, Connecticut, near New Haven—thanks to funds acquired by Anni Albers for the restitution of family property in the former East Berlin—the Foundation today includes a fascinating art collection, library and archives, as well as residence studios for visiting artists.

Today, the organisation is devoted to fostering and promoting the legacy of both Josef and Anni Albers’s lives and work, and the aesthetic and philosophical principles by which they lived. Under the direction of Nicholas Fox Weber—appointed Executive Director of the Foundation 40 years ago and friend of the Alberses—the Foundation has adopted a forward-looking and multi-faceted approach to preserving this legacy, setting it apart from all other major artists’ foundations operating today.

Active in the fields of art, education, research and publishing the Foundation continues to lead the way in applying its founders’ philosophy to help bring about change through continuous ground- breaking philanthropic projects and exhibitions across the world.

The Tambacounda hospital expansion is the latest development in the Albers Foundation’s enduring relationship with Senegal. Nicholas Fox Weber (the Foundation’s Director) founded the non-profit organisation Le Korsa in 2005, focusing particularly on medical care, scholarships and education in Senegal.

Josef and Anni Albers Foundation
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