In the annual Evolo design competition, this year focused on skyscrapers, the magazine made a timely decision to name the Epidemic Babel the 2020 winner. The skyscraper, which is designed by Chinese architects in response to the COVID-19 crisis, is designed to be built at a moment’s notice at the site of an outbreak—a kind of pop-up hospital that can take mass casualties.
The Epidemic Babel features two particularly important advantages: simple construction and rapid response. The entire building consists of a steel frame with several functional boxes with a very small footprint. The building pattern is simple enough that any qualified construction team can have it ready in five days. Once the steel frame is erected, the healthcare team will choose the appropriate functional boxes to be attached to the steel frame.
This building pattern allows the skyscraper to respond to the outbreak in a very short time and relieve the burden of the existing health care infrastructure. All the programmatic boxes are pre-manufactured in factories and need no extra time for construction. The lightness of the frame and boxes also makes it easy to transport to remote locations. Compared to the temporary hospitals currently built in China, the Epidemic Babel is faster to construct and potentially less expensive.
Second place went to Egalitarian Nature, a skyscraper that brings parks and green space to a higher height. Third place went to Coast Breakwater, a skyscraper based in Senegal suffering from rising sea levels.