Project Spotlight: Yantalo, Peru

Yantalo World Health Center, Peru

The Yantalo World Health Center is one of the longest running projects for the NewSchool’s office practice studio class. Over the past ten years over 100 NewSchool students have helped design community buildings for the village of Yantalo, Peru including a hospital recognized by the United Nations World Health Center.

The health clinic, located in the remote part of Peru was designed by NewSchool of Architecture & Design students through a collaboration with the Yantalo Community Foundation and NewSchool faculty. The 16-bed Yantalo Clinic & Diagnostic Center in the community of Yantalo is billed as the first “green” clinic in Peru, powered by solar power and smart water use to decrease environmental impact to the region and lower operating costs.

The project is an example of NewSchool student projects that provide students hands-on experience in design and architecture both in the surrounding San Diego area as well as on an international scale, and it is part of the school’s mission to prepare students to be socially responsible leaders.

The participation grew from a friendship between NewSchool Dean Emeritus Gil Cooke and Luis Vazquez, who founded the Yantalo Community Foundation. In 2007, NewSchool students Gina Cangialosi and Laura Garza travelled to Peru where they surveyed the proposed site for the clinic and met with community members. The design they developed for the clinic took into account a slope of about 30 degrees, which they leveraged to create a terrace effect. Some of the “green” steps incorporated into the project include solar power, energy efficient light bulbs, natural lighting, recycled building materials, and low flow toilets and sinks. These are meant to decrease environmental impact to the region and lower operating costs.

The clinic plays a critical role in the region since the closest major hospital is in Lima, twenty-one hours away from the clinic.