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“It takes a village!” is a true statement regarding the design and construction of a prototype for a rural health clinic in Las Lagunas, Boaco, Nicaragua.In fact, it took the active collaboration of members of this remote village; Clinica Verde,an NGO that delivers high quality medical care and health education focused on pregnant women; the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health; and our Connecticut-based architecture studio. As Architect, we were asked to create a “Puesto de Salud” prototype for providing compassionate healthcare in rural communities throughout Nicaragua, within an environmentally and socially sustainable framework. Las Lagunas was the first community where the prototype was built.

Our goal was to develop a replicable prototype, based on local building materials and methods, with details that could be adapted to each community. We met with Las Lagunas residents and listened to their input, which informed everything from programmatic layout to paint colors, bio-intensive community gardening, and incorporating local symbols into the puesto design.

Following a request from Boaco’s Department of Construction, we produced a video for the local construction team, in Spanish, on “green building,” which was central to our design approach.Also fundamental to the notion of sustainability was the village’s need for acquiring basic services, like water and sanitation. Given the current political unrest throughout Nicaragua, it is uncertain how or when further puestos will be built, but the success at Las Lagunas is evidenced by the nearly 100 weekly patient visits, and by the community regarding and caring for the puesto as their own.

This project received a Merit Design Award from AIA Connecticut.

Client Collaborator

Clinica Verde with Nicaragua Ministry of Health

Engineering and Construction

Boaco Municipal Government


Melvin Rodriguez