Carnegie Mellon University
May 13, 2019

Master's Student Designs Teaching Hospital for Haitian Village

By Jason Maderer

Jason Maderer
  • Marketing and Communications
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Poverty cripples every section of Haiti. Graduate student Nikhita Bhagwat saw it in Google images and web searches in the weeks before she flew to the island nation for the first time. Reality, she said, was much worse.

"Once you step foot there, it's quite unbelievable to see people facing that much poverty and lack of infrastructure," said Bhagwat, a native of New Delhi, India. "It's very sad and heart-breaking, but it makes you feel like returning more often to make a difference."


Carnegie Mellon University graduate student Nikhita Bhagwat dedicated her architecture master’s thesis to document and design a teaching hospital in Neply, Haiti. 

That's why Bhagwat dedicated her architecture master's thesis to a 16-week independent study project that allowed her to document and design a teaching hospital in Neply, a small village about three hours away from the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. She created a facility that combines health operations, such as urgent care and pediatric care, with a medical school for the youth of the village.

Her schematic designs will eventually be sent to Haitian architects for approval. With luck, the first phase could be constructed in Neply by 2023 or 2024.

Nikhita Bhagwat
Nikhita Bhagwat designed a facility that combines health operations, such as urgent care and pediatric care, with a medical school for the youth of the village.

"This project has been extremely fulfilling," Bhagwat said. "In a few years, hopefully this will be a tiny step for the redevelopment in Haiti."

This is the first time in nearly 25 years that Carnegie Mellon University students are earning master's degrees in architecture. The two-year degree program was re-introduced in 2017, and a three-year option will soon be available for students with no prior architecture background. Baghat is one of 17 graduates.

"I always wanted to pursue a master's degree in architecture and had an interest in the field of public interest design," she said. "Carnegie Mellon broadened my horizons and helped me discover that healthcare is something I specifically want to pursue in the next phase of my life."

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