Emergency Modular Hospitals - Projects for COVID-19 Pandemic

Alternative healthcare facilities: architects mobilize to fight COVID-19

As healthcare infrastructure is overwhelming and hospitals around the world are reaching their capabilities, alternative possibilities emerge. In response to the shortage of beds and the saturation of facilities, architects around the world are taking action in the ongoing fight against the coronavirus. Focusing their knowledge to find fast and efficient design solutions that can be implemented anywhere, they propose flexible, quickly assembled, mobile and simple structures. With a tight schedule, some projects are already implemented and in service, while others remain on a conceptual level, waiting to be adopted.

Although overall, the planning guidelines for new hospitals dictate that 15-20% of spaces should be dedicated to communicable diseases, most facilities worldwide could not have anticipated a pandemic of this scale. As a result, Carlo Ratti has converted shipping containers into intensive care units, consisting of fast-mounting, easy-to-move and safe units. CURA, a secure isolation room, containing all the necessary medical equipment, has its first prototype ready. In the Philippines, the WTA established 60 emergency quarantine facilities. Temporary structures made of wood and plastic can be replicated anywhere to increase the capacity of hospitals. Other more conceptual approaches include mobile units designed by startup JUPE HEALTH, rapidly deployed rest and recovery units, as well as mobile ICUs. At "1/30 the cost of a hospital room," they're designed and built for doctors by doctors, and can be shipped anywhere.

On the other hand, in New York, officials, who anticipate the need for 10 times the existing rooms, seek to generate useful spaces for patients by altering the capacity of existing structures or converting buildings with a different program, such as office spaces, stadiums, convention centers, etc., which already have the basic required amenities, such as HVAC and adequate treatment infrastructure. Additionally, to help identify suitable alternative sites for patient care, the American Institute of Architects has released a new design guide from its COVID-19 Task Force, a quick assessment to recognize compatible buildings that can support care operations. In line with this logic, Opposite Office has proposed to transform the New Berlin airport, under construction since 2006, into a "super hospital" for patients with coronavirus. The adaptive reuse alternative can be implemented at any airport in the world, since traffic is limited and restricted.

In addition, specialized architecture companies such as MASS published guidelines to limit contagion in the Tents COVID-19. In founding his research on past epidemics, MASS explains that the risk of cross contamination is high when people are in tight places. To limit disease transmission, 3 main ideas should be adopted: limit the spread of drops between people, designing distances between people of 6 or more to avoid direct contact with respiratory drops; mitigate contagion through surfaces, identifying, cleaning and disinfecting high contact surfaces; and control of airborne infections by preventing, diluting, and removing contaminated air.

To highlight different design approaches, inspire creative solutions and encourage quick responses, we have brought together 10 architectural platform initiatives that address current issues, each presenting a novelty and introducing a different concept. A space protocol, an urban quarantine camp, emergency medical shelters, fast-building hospitals made from recycled shipping containers and inflatable fabrics, low-cost mobile facilities, hospital ships, and personal protective spaces for doctors, among others.

Adapta: spatial solution in case of emergencies

Architect: 50SuperReal, Spain

Through adaptability, prefabrication, optimization, speed, recycling and the upstream cycle, as well as "adaptability", Adapta is a spatial protocol based on resilience, preparedness and collaboration in advance. Being a globally adaptable design that can be implemented in a crisis, it creates a spatial solution that can be applied anywhere in the world and in a matter of seconds, reducing the overhead of the human design process to almost zero. Assuming the pre-existing modular units, which are ideal for emergency construction, 50SuperReal designed a solution where all additional building materials are sized to fit in the modular unit, in case the building needs to be packed and moved to a new site.

By fighting COVID-19, doctors can be exposed to infection when masks and protective suits are missing. The Mobile PPS is a space where doctors can treat patients in a protected space. It has a constant overpressure, which means that air flows only out of the space, without allowing the virus to enter. The air supply is guaranteed by a fan located outside or in an additional decontaminated space.

About 50SuperReal


Our entire team comes from a creative background, having studied architecture, design, engineering, art direction, coding, digital tools and new technologies. Our broad spectrum of interests allows us to create our own unique and innovative design strategies.


In between all of us we have spent more than 40 years fine-tuning our skills and adding knowledge and experience to our folios. Passion is what drives us and we strive to build friendships and trust with our clients and collaborators.


Our projects, so far, touch 3 continents. We pride ourselves to practice what we preach with the "think global, act local" motto, as we combine our different backgrounds and nationalities to come up with innovative designs and solutions.

AddressCl Lozoya 4, 28015 Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Phone+ 34 657 42 79 53

Mobile PPS (personal protection space) for doctors

Architect: Plastic Fantastique, Germany

By fighting COVID-19, doctors can be exposed to infection when masks and protective suits are missing. The Mobile PPS is a space where doctors can treat patients in a protected space. It has a constant overpressure, which means that air flows only outside the space, without allowing the virus to enter. The air supply is guaranteed by a fan located outside or in an additional decontaminated space.

About Plastique Fantastique

Plastique Fantastique is an art collective which samples the performative possibilities of urban environments. Established in Berlin in 1999, Plastique Fantastique is influenced by the unique circumstances that made the city a laboratory for temporary spaces and investigates alternative, adaptable, low energy spaces for temporary and ephemeral activities.
The transparent, lightweight and mobile installations relate to the notion of activating, creating and sharing public space and involving citizens in creative processes. They are in many ways the simplest of structures – a skin that separates but also connects, that breathes new life into the city and makes the invisible visible.

AddressLindower Strasse 22, 13347 Berlin, Germany


Architect: AGX Architects, India 

As India and the world face a shortage of healthcare infrastructure, AGX ARCHITECTS proposes an effective solution that can be manufactured and deployed as soon as possible and has the potential to scale up. In fact, they created a structure that can act as a quarantine hospital unit or quarantine shelter for an individual. Design effectiveness is lower cost, requires fewer skills, minimal on-site operations, readily available materials, efficient logistics, and minimal installation time. A component system is developed to increase and decrease the size of the unit as needed.

About AGX Architects

AGX Architects is a Delhi based Architectural practice founded by Atul Garg in 2019. Our practice focuses on buildings, interiors, landscape, and urban design. Our goal is to enhance every design experience for people whom we work with and crafting the best project for our community with our innovative thinking, design knowledge, critical understanding and collaborative approach.


Modular Emergency Hospital

Architect: MMW Architects, Norway

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, MMW Architects has designed an efficient, flexible, and affordable modular hospital to increase intensive care capacity nationally and internationally. The hospital construction system is based on the use of recycled shipping containers and inflatable fabrics, assembled in an innovative way to meet the stringent requirements of air pollution in hospitals. The system can accommodate isolators and larger patient rooms based on needs and circumstances. It is intended to be a contingency hospital that will function as a satellite hospital physically close to a larger hospital.

About MMV

Architecture is not just about technology and solutions. It is also about courage. And love. Courage to push boundaries and creating solutions that stand out in the crowd. Love for the subject and the ability to turn the reality upside down to find the best solution.

mmw have always wanted to go our own way and not be bound to creating the solutions that necessarily blends into the established environment. The reason is simple – mmw should always be a office that creates new architecture – anywhere - anytime – for anyone.

mmw will never restrain ourselves, but be an office customers can expect new and exciting things from. Meanwhile, we are and will always be the office clients and partners can rely on and deliver solid and realistic solutions to an agreed budget and time.

mmw architects was started by Magne Magler Wiggen in the autumn 1997. The first project was Fhiltex – a mobile detached made of two steel containers. This project made the office known both nationally and internationally. Since then the office has distinguished itself with new and innovative solutions that challenge building traditions.

Today mmw consists of 9 employees who collectively have broad experience in architecture, planning, building conservation, scenography and furniture design. We work always with others, and take pride in working as a team with the client, other architecture firms, entrepreneurs and local authorities.

AddressSchweigaards gate 34D, n-0191 Oslo, Norway
Phone+47 22 17 34 40

Hospital Ships

Architect: Weston Williamson + Partners, United Kingdom

Trying to encourage a global response, Weston Williamson proposes hospital ships, as the shipping container module is ideal for an intensive care bed and medical equipment. With 3,500 containers per vessel, patients would only remain on the ship in circumstances where there is no place to deploy them. Shipping containers are adapted by removing one of the steel doors and nailing a perspex panel in place. The perspex also has a hit and miss panel for natural ventilation and a built-in air conditioning unit.

About WestonWilliamson+Partners

We are a design-led practice, who relish a challenge and with a strong record of delivery.
Our work is all about the people who use it; how they will inhabit and experience the buildings, places and artefacts that we design. We take a whole life approach, considering how our designs will adapt, retain their relevance and continue to be enjoyed for years to come.

We enjoy seeing our projects through to completion; making them helps us to design better places. The way buildings are put together, how things connect, support, touch and enclose informs all of our work. We value simplicity and elegance; what is essential to ensure the intelligent use of the world’s resources.

We specialise in creating solutions for complex projects, large or small, international and local.
We get to the essence of what people need from buildings and spaces, listening, challenging and responding to clients and stakeholders with elegant, bold solutions. We set out a clear and engaging vision that helps people get involved with the design and the process.

We utilise appropriate technology. We look for better ways of making components and systems perform and collaborate with the wider industry to make this happen. We are provocative and inventive.


London, United Kingdom

Address12 Valentine Place, London, SE1 8QH, United Kingdom
Phone+44 (0)20 7401 8877

Melbourne, Australia

AddressLevel 1, 137 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia
Phone+61 (0) 3 8639 9005

Sydney, Australia

AddressSuite 4, Level 1, 2-12 Foveaux Street, Surry Hills, NSW 2010, Sydney, Australia
Phone+61(0) 2 9211 1263

Toronto, Canada

Address120 Adelaide Street West, Suite 2500, Toronto, Ontario, M5H 1T1, Canada
Phone+1 416 562 2269

Mobile Hospital

Architect: VHL.Architecture, Vietnam

VHL.Architecture teamed up with Da Nang University of Architecture to design a Mobile Hospital model capable of solving the current bed shortage while ensuring the full functions and facilities of a medical examination and treatment center. Quickly built for factory mass production, with low installation costs, the project takes the 6-meter basic container and breaks it into 3 parts. The frame is a 30mm x 60mm iron box, while the floor is made of lightweight concrete panels with standard dimensions. The medical kit will be placed in the red box or under the floor to save space.

About VHL. Architecture

VHL. Architecture is an architectural and interior design consultancy company with the criteria "Creating space, Starting source of living, Enhancing Vietnamese values" to bring customers the best quality products. VHL. Architecture meets all the needs of customers in terms of Architectural, Interior design consultancy, Construction investment project, Bidding for constructing works items ... especially Feng Shui consulting for free. We undertake from the conceptualization stage of the basic design development to the stage of construction drawing and construction supervision.

VHL. Architecture was established with the policy of ensuring that all projects are formed with high quality, professionalism and each project is a product of architectural design.

AddressSố 194, Đường 29/3, P. Hòa Xuân - Q.Cẩm Lệ-TP.Đà Nẵng, Vietnam
Phone+84 51 1627 3368
Fax+84 23 6627 3368

Rescue Center

Architect: HAHA Architects Group, Poland

The Field Rescue Center (FRC) project was created as a concept of a mobile diagnosis and treatment center. Its purpose is to be used in times of crisis such as epidemics, pandemics, natural disasters, refugee crises or humanitarian missions when it is crucial to quickly provide medical aid to large numbers of people. The Field Rescue Center can fulfill the tasks of a fully functional temporary emergency modular hospital. Consisting of TEU FRC containers it is a mobile structure, easy to transport. Thanks to the moving parts and the hydraulic system, the assembly is practically autonomous. The modular structure of the installation allows it to be mounted in any configuration, depending on the characteristics of the critical situation and the number of people seeking medical help.

About HAHA Architecs Group

HAHA Architecs Group is a studio of architecture and urban planning founded in 2005 by Marcin Wojnowski. Our basic goal is to search for original and useful solutions in the field of creating the surrounding space.

The scope of our services includes:

- pre-project operation and investment preparation
- architectural and urban design
- coordination work
- industry arrangements
- inventory
- visualizations

AddressAl. Wilanowska 7/64 02-765 Warszawa Poland
Phone+48 509761911

CNC Medical Emergency Module

Architect: KOTKO

The CNC-MEM or computer numerical control used to create a medical emergency module responds to the current crisis of COVID-19, which inspires a design that can be conceptualized and polished, to be open source. Produced with a total of 6 sheets of 1.22cm x 2.44cm plywood, with few other materials, the intervention can be cut in less than a day and assembled in less than 10 minutes. Each module can accommodate 1 patient. Its main ability is to grow, creating a mutable configuration according to the available landscape. The project aims to create a social architecture that provides options for immediate needs.

Foldable Emergency Shelter

Architect: Gonzalo Guzman, Argentina

The main idea of this emergency modular hospital was to design a very simple shelter that could be easily transported and built. The dimension would allow us to stack many modules and transport them on any truck. Each module consists of a rigid structure of collapsible panels and a fabric covering for additional protection against wind and water. This module can be adapted to any situation where an emergency shelter is needed and the rigid panels can be made of any material depending on availability. The simplicity of the shape is in response to effectiveness and economy.

Gonzalo Guzman is an architect from Salta, Salta Province, Argentina.

CAMP-15: Sustainable Urban Park

Architect: INFEKT, Turkey

To overcome the economic and social catastrophe of the coronavirus outbreak; sustainable quarantine systems must adapt to any place that is struggling with the virus and still need to maintain its residents. CAMP-15 Emergency Modular Hospital is a way of living in quarantine, an area adapted from a park to the isolation of residents. Park facilities such as showrooms, galleries, restaurants, warehouses, and many open-door areas are transformed into bedrooms, offices, and leisure areas for mild and symptom-free patients. Under 24h observation by doctors; This area is where any COVID-19 positive patient can go and live for 15 days until the end of the quarantine period.

About INFEKT Design

Barış Kıldiş
M Arch

Born in 1980. Architect degree from Istanbul Technical University Architectural Faculty in 2005. M Arch degree from Bahcesehir University Adaptive Re-Use Master Programme in 2009. After spells with other firms from 2005; founded INFEKT Design Co in 2016. Member of Chamber of Architects.

Address1764. Sk. 29 A, Bahriye Üçok, 35600 Karşıyaka/İzmir, Turkey
Phone+90 533 960 08 92

Emergency Modular Hospitals - Projects for COVID-19 Pandemic