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Coronavirus hospital – Edifice built to save lives not to set records

Shanghai/China-Jan.2020: New type coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan has been spreading into Shanghai. A family wearing surgical mask waiting at bus station

With more than 37,000 confirmed cases at the time of writing, this new coronavirus has surpassed the spread of the SARS virus in 2003. To try and control the spread of the disease China has had to beat its old record of building a hospital in 7 days (in Beijing) with a new one in only 6. In the middle of the Chinese city of Wuhan, home to 11 million residents and the center of the so-called epidemic, China started building a brand new hospital after the rapidly spreading disease filled up all the city´s hospital beds with patients.

The hospital site comes with an area of 25,000 square meters and is built to be a temporary quarantined hospital where infected patients should stay in to be a protective gear in place. It’s entirely made from prefabricated buildings and should contain around 1000 beds initially.

Corona vs Sars contamination plan

In 2003 when Sars was invading China, the Xiaotangshan Hospital was built to accommodate the infected patients. It was constructed in 7 days, and about 4000 people and 500 types of machinery and equipment have contributed to finishing it in the shortest time span possible. The hospital was divided into two parts; one part is for infected patients and another for suspected patients.
On the other hand, on the break of coronavirus in 2020, more than 7000 workers with armies of trucks and excavators started digging to complete the Huoshenshan hospital project in less time than the Sars one. With promises to add 1600 more beds to the already designed one after opening. The working on site was accompanied by workplace infection precautions including temperature checks for site workers to check for any signs of coronavirus infection. The hospital was handed on Sunday 2 Feb by Zhou Xianwang, the mayor of Wuhan to the military which is responsible for its operation.

What are the main factors that should be considered when designing a hospital

Hospitals are the most complex building type, not only because it requires special zoning with multifunction connection. But also, because the building users are in their weakest state. When dealing with a patient, you consider that his bearing and patience energy is very low. You need to keep the distance for every function he needs short.  A typical hospital should have a diagnostic, treatment, laboratories, emergency and surgery sections; where they all should be designed and coordinated to provide the optimum use in the shortest time. However, there are main aspects that should all exist when designing a hospital. No matter how fast you want to finish it and regardless of the location, size or budget.

Efficiency and cost-effectiveness: In order to build a medical facility with minimal costs, you should minimise travel between commonly used spaces by combining some functional areas with similar system requirements.

Offer therapeutic environment: A hospital environment plays a vital role in the healing trip. Familiar materials, cheerful design scheme, and natural light enhancement minimise the patients’ stress, provide positive distractions and enable social support.

Smooth circulation and accessibility: Hospitals have multiple types of users; stay in patients, visitors, outpatients and staff. The successful hospital design is the one that differs between every user route clearly. Also, all entrance areas should be designed to serve patients with slower adaptation rates and disabilities and all gates, corridors, entrances should be designed to provide a flexible wheelchair move.

Sanitation: Hospitals, in general, should be easy to clean and sanitate and this can be done by using special materials for finishing that tend less to carry microbes and bacteria and design adequate placings according to standards for keeping the sanitation and cleaning kit.

Finally, an emerging fetal virus that is striking the world currently is a disaster that we all should cooperate to defend it. Back to 1918, when there were no drillers, construction equipment, cranes, and planes. When the first influenza pandemic invaded the world with (H1N1) virus, causing more than 50 million death worldwide, there was no way to defend it or even to have a shelter.

What China has done to build these hospitals in a short time is a world record in crisis contamination plan that would never be achieved without the cooperation of hard workers and developed tech tools hand in hand.