From 3D printing face shields to developing fast-track hospital conversion solutions, the A&D industry is stepping up to support the extraordinary work of healthcare providers during the pandemic.
As healthcare providers face a drastic shortage of protective gear and hospitals run out of space, architects and designers are sharing their services, analytical abilities, and technologies to help fight the pandemic. Here we share some examples of how the industry is pivoting to scaffold healthcare services in these trying times.
Responding to COVID-19 in unison, leading design studios and brands around the world are manufacturing and distributing face masks, PPE, and face shields. In London, Foster+Partners are laser-cutting 1,000 face shields a day that can be easily disassembled and sanitized. They are not alone; Indian architect Nuru Karim, Founder & Principal Nudes has joined hands with India Design ID to mobilise the country’s A&D and the 3D-printing community to explore ‘design and make techniques’ to create masks and shields. BIG, Brooks+Scarpa, Weiss/Manfredi, and Handel Architects are amongst those leveraging their facilities both physically and digitally to mass-produce PPE via open-source software.
With mask shortages stoking fears, many brands have responded by mass-producing faces masks fashioned with colorful prints which is evident with brands CW Stockwell and Caitlin Wilson who have partnered up to make at least 2,000 masks with the CW Stockwell iconic Martinique print.
Minnesota–based Loll Design typically manufactures outdoor furnishings from recycled plastic materials. They have shifted their operations, gearing their facilities towards developing ready-to-build hospital field beds with reclining backs and adjustable headrests. Engineered from durable and sanitary high-density polyethylene, these beds are recyclable, easy to clean, and available for worldwide shipping.
With hospitals feeling the strain the most, architects are deploying their problem-solving skills to help lay the groundwork for alternative medical facilities. Led by Carlo Ratti and Italo Rota, the Italian architecture studio Carlo Ratti Associati have devised a proposal that can rapidly transform shipping containers into intensive care units. Each 20-foot mobile container is proposed an autonomous ‘plug-in biocontainment pod’ supporting a variety of functions. Alongside, Dallas-based architecture firm HKS have developed conceptual designs to rapidly convert underutilized spaces such as hotels, schools, and sports facilities into functional medical facilities within 10-14 days.
“We just want to be good stewards in our industry and serve our communities,” says Jason Schroer, Director of Health at the HKS Dallas office.