In response to the critical shortage of ICU beds amid the COVID-19 pandemic, nonprofit design/build collective CURA has proposed an innovative solution: repurposing shipping containers into rapidly deployable ICU pods.

“The response to the emergency in China and Italy so far has been to set up makeshift emergency hospitals such as tents, or build new prefabricated wards with biocontainment,” explains the CURA team, who have already begun working on their first prototype for a hospital in Milan. “While the latter option is time- and resource-intensive, the former one exposes medical professionals to a higher risk of contamination and adds operational strain, especially in the long run.”

What is CURA?

Backed by the World Economic Forum with funding from UniCredit bank, CURA—Connected Units for Respiratory Ailments—is the brainchild of an international nonprofit task force spearheaded by Italian architecture firm Carlo Ratti Associati with architect Italo Rota, and includes experts from engineering, medical, design, and military backgrounds. 


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