When a new and frightening viral infection began spreading around the world last year, healthcare agencies raced to keep up with demand for hospital beds. In very short order, dozens of experimental, hastily assembled healthcare facilities began to sprout in unlikely locations.
As all of this was happening, professor Stephen Verderber, director of the Daniels Faculty's Centre for Design + Health Innovation, was keeping a careful eye on all the new construction. He has now released a white paper in which he reviews four different categories of built and unbuilt rapid-deployment healthcare facilities, including some designed by Master of Architecture students in his fall 2020 Architecture + Health research studio.
The white paper, titled "Pandemical healthcare architecture and social responsibility — COVID-19 and beyond," identifies several key inadequacies in existing designs for COVID-inspired healthcare facilities. Verderber argues for future rapid-deployment facilities to be designed in ways that allow them to be both therapeutic and socially responsive. He writes:
Effective rapid response requires personal conviction, perseverance, and appreciation of timeless Vitruvian precepts calling for architecture as the provider of commodity, firmness, and delight in a civil, democractic society. The first two precepts alone are insufficient, if architecture is to be a meaningful participant. An advocacy-based architecture for health in the public, civic interest is worthwhile and achievable — especially in trying times.
Image by Emily Moore and Jiawen Lin.