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Clark Nexsen Design Wins International Competition

NORFOLK, VIRGINIA November 28, 2011 – Clark Nexsen, an established leader in providing architecture, engineering, interior design, planning, and landscape architecture services announces that Clark Nexsen, Farrow Partnership Architects and Ngonyama Okpanum’s design for Protea Health was a winner in the new international competition to design a Health Promoting Lifestyle Centre for South Africa.

Providing an open design brief, the competition, which was the first of its kind in Africa, asked entrants to design a new kind of health centre – one

with a preventative (health promoting), rather than a curative (disease-based) vision.

Focusing mainly on primary care, with an emphasis on health promotion, the design brief called for a friendly and welcoming facility that empowers the community towards self-care. Entrants were required to show an understanding of salutogenic health principles and how the physical environment can be a valuable tool for preventative medicine, as well as demonstrating environmentally-supportive design.

The winning design for Protea Health puts the national flower of South Africa, the Protea, at the heart of its scheme, as a metaphor for hope, healing and renewal. Its form sits at the heart of the HPLC, open to the sky and acting as a beacon for users.

Outdoor features include sheltered waiting and circulation areas, gardens, worship/meditation areas and a ‘learning kitchen’. Indoors are outpatient clinics (including antenatal, dental, TB/HIV/AIDS and traditional healing), retail and education space, clinics, a library and a theatre. Classrooms will be used by local people as well as for training for health workers.

Inspired by biomimicry, the central flower-shaped opening in the building facilitates passive air circulation. Further sustainable features include solar photovoltaics on the roof, composting and rainwater collection. Farrow Okpanum Clark Nexsen’s vision is for a ‘Centre of Influence’ equivalent to the hospital-based Centre of Excellence: “It will set an international standard for promoting the full range of upstream causes of health, which will be seen as appealing, understandable and accessible to everyone.


Clark Nexsen is an award-winning architecture, engineering, interior design, planning, and landscape architecture firm that has been in continuous operation for over 90 years. With offices in Norfolk, Richmond and Roanoke, Virginia; Washington, DC; Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina; and Macon, Atlanta and Brunswick, GA, Clark Nexsen employs a staff of over 550 dedicated professionals ― more than 170 of whom are LEED Accredited. The firm’s architecture, engineering, interior design and planning design teams specialize in healthcare, government, college and university, commercial, offices, recreational, manufacturing and land planning projects. Clark Nexsen has been recognized as one of America’s leading architecture and design firms, as cited in the Almanac of Architecture & Design, DesignIntelligence’s annual factbook and ranked as one of the Top 500 National Design Firms by Engineering News-Record. Clark Nexsen works to shape the future worldwide, and their focus remains constant: extraordinary effort to make projects work for their clients. For more information on Clark Nexsen, visit