Italian Architecture Firm Designs ICU That Can Fit in a Shipping Crate

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Robison Wells
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Italy has been the country hit the hardest by the coronavirus, seeing an almost 9% death rate (more than 8,000 deaths as of March 27th), and the country is struggling to handle the massive need for hospital space. That’s why the architecture firm Carlo Ratti Associati designed an intensive care unit that can be easily packaged and sent to areas in need.

Named the Connected Units for Respiratory Ailments (CURA) Pod, after the Latin word for “cure”, the ICUs are designed to be temporary shelters that can be placed next to hospitals in a matrix that essentially expands the square footage of the ICUs. Each 20-foot-long CURA pod exists in a single shipping container and can care for two patients. The rooms have ventilation systems that generate negative pressure to keep contaminated air from escaping, conforming with Airborne Infection Isolation Room standards.

Designed by Carlo Ratti and fellow architect Italo Rotta, the modular shipping containers are being built in Milan as prototypes, and if proven viable, will be shipped around the country.

“The units could be as fast to mount as a hospital tent, but as safe as an isolation ward, thanks to biocontainment with negative pressure,” the design team said.

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