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Operation Smile Centre, Oujda, Morocco, Building for a better world

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A variety of surface materials donated by Sto were used during construction of the clinic, both on the facade and within the building. Photo: Grant Smith, London

In April, a special clinic for treating children suffering from cleft lip and palate was opened in the Moroccan city of Oujda. The new building was made possible thanks to the dedication of humanitarian architecture charity Article 25 and the extensive support provided by the Sto Group.

Oujda is a city with over 550,000 inhabitants in the north-east of Morocco. In this region, an above-average proportion of children are born with cleft lip and palate. Until now there were no specialist doctors or clinics in this poverty-stricken region. In April 2019, international medical charity Operation Smile opened a surgical and dental specialist clinic aimed at providing free medical support for over 600 families per year. Operation Smile, the architecture charity Article 25, and the Sto Group are partners and sponsors of the project.

Operation Smile was founded in 1982 (www.operationsmile.org) and has since then provided free treatment for almost 300,000 children. Article 25 is a humanitarian architecture charity based in London (www.article-25.org). Driven by Article 25 of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the charity’s goal is to provide as many people as possible with access to better housing, safe school buildings, and effective clinics and hospitals. Since it was founded in 2004, Article 25 has worked on more than 90 projects in 34 countries.

The decision to establish the clinic in Oujda was made by the founding parties back in 2012. Operation Smile would take responsibility for the future running of the clinic, Article 25 would be in charge of the design and construction process, and Sto would provide support in terms of planning costs, supplying a variety of construction materials free of charge, as well as helping to integrate and train local craft and trade businesses. After overcoming numerous difficulties, in 2016 the all clear was finally given and construction could commence. Sto provided all the construction materials for the interior and exterior surfaces of the building, including a facade insulation system designed to save both heating and cooling energy, durable facade renders and finishes, textile wall coverings, low-emission interior coatings, non-combustible acoustic ceiling systems, and easy-to-clean floor coatings. An extensive training programme, also initiated by Sto, provided local tradespeople with sustainable benefits whilst reflecting the spirit of the company motto: “Building with conscience”. Finally, on 19 April 2019, the clinic was inaugurated and could begin to serve the community.

Project Information

More information about the project can be found in a 45-minute lecture ('Sustainable Building in Hot Climates - A Case Study of a Healthcare Clinic in Morocco, by Article 25'), which can be "booked" at the Sto Werkstatt by London architecture firms.