Rwanda Smile Centre

Rwanda Smile Centre – Land of a thousand smiles

Our proposal is to design a state-of-the-art dental and teaching facility in Kigali, Rwanda.  Our strategy, ‘healing through teaching’, occurs across many different levels – the children, the doctors, the guests and patients, through to the discipleship. Serendipity of events can be articulated through intensifying interactions between certain programs and all this is supported by our architectural design.

Being active Christians, we have a passion to eventually take part in more missionary work.  Our strong faith makes it helpful to understand how missionary work operates and how we can successfully integrate it into the design.  Missionary work can take place in any space. What is important are the spatial cues.  These are visual connections throughout the centre providing opportunities to bring up conversations about Christ and good dental practice.

We have integrated three buildings into one.  Programs are separated but connected – they may lay in isolation but retain a visual or close proximity to one another.  Ground level is private, allocated to storage.  Level one is semi-public with guest rooms, chapel, outdoor BBQ areas.  Level two is semi-public with rooms for teaching and doctors.  Level three is public, for dental treatment.

We looked closely at Rwanda’s vernacular architecture and adopted certain elements to define a unique but familiar Rwandan style.  Rwanda is known for its tall trees.  We’ve continued this as a motif throughout the building – columns and vertical wood-paneled façade emphasising the tall trees that allow for passive cooling and solar shading, while maintaining privacy.  We also looked at local suppliers, choosing local materials, with the selected palette to be achievable.  Our environmental strategy utilises natural resources, saving money on water and electricity, and creating a system of autonomy.

Rwanda Smile Centre is a professional business space that needs to generate income to fund the community and mobile clinics. It’s important that the space is state-of-the-art. Therefore, the centre has been designed with a professional, high-end, luxury presence, using high-quality materials and a unique building form.  Designed with a timeless yet modern appearance, this centre will be remembered – a building that will last.

Rwanda, once known as the land of a thousand hills, will be, the land of a thousand smiles.


Location: Kigali, Rwanda

Client: HOPE dental

Year: 2020

Status: Competition

Programs: Christian Ministry development, Chapel, Dental Clinic, Learning and Teaching Centre, Warehouse, Residential