The role of architecture in the development of indigenous and biomedical collaborative healthcare facilities : designing a joint indigenous and biomedical healthcare centre for Durban.
South Africa is currently revitalising the role of Traditional Health Practitioners (THPs) in the country's healthcare provision. This undertaking is guided by Chinese Traditional Medicine which is said to be one of the most highly developed traditional healthcare systems in the world. Programmes developed by the National Department of Health and other stake holders in the development of indigenous medicine often need to be accommodated architecturally. Collaboration with biomedicine is one of the main programmes aimed at empowering Traditional Health Practitioners of the country. Accordingly, this dissertation is divided into two sections, both based on the current undertakings of collaboration between biomedicine and indigenous medicine in South Africa. Due to the fact that traditional healing systems are less commonly described than biomedicine, the main focus of this study is indigenous medicine and how architecture could be influenced by alternative healthcare practices. The first section (A) is theoretical. It investigates and compares the current architecture that accommodates THPs in rural and urban areas of KwaZulu-Natal. This unveils social, cultural, economic and political factors affecting this architectural genre. The aim thereof is to establish architectural elements to be considered when designing a health care facility for THPs. Section A also explores the current state of healthcare architecture in the country and abroad so as to establish the latest challenges to be addressed by the proposed collaborative healthcare model. Design principles for collaborative architecture accommodating THPs and biomedical practitioners in an urban context of South Africa are then be put forward. Section B incorporates the theories derived from section A, towards the design of a joint indigenous and biomedical healthcare centre for Durban. It gives specific spatial requirements for a collaboration between biomedical practitioners and izinyanga.