CURA shipping container ICUs open in turin to combat COVID-19
CURA strives to be as fast to mount as a hospital tent, but as safe as a regular isolation ward to work in, thanks to the comprehensive biocontainment equipment. designed by Carlo Ratti associati with Italo rota, the first CURA pod was installed on April 19, 2020, at a new temporary hospital set up in Turin, northern Italy, one of the regions hit hardest by the pandemic.
all images by max tomasinelli
each unit is hosted in a 20-foot intermodal container, repurposed with biocontainment equipment. an extractor creates indoor negative pressure, complying with the standards of airborne infection isolation rooms AIIRs. two glass windows carved on the opposite sides of the containers are meant for doctors to get a sense of the status of patients both inside and outside the pods. this would also potentially allow external visitors to get closer to their relatives in a safer and more humane setting. each pod works autonomously and can be promptly shipped to any location around the world, adapting to the needs of the local healthcare infrastructure.
the first CURA pod has been built and installed in the framework of a temporary hospital set up by top Italian health authorities in the former OGR industrial complex in the city of Turin. CURA provides additional ICUs for the hospital, which currently has about 90 beds for patients affected by coronavirus. the pod contains all medical equipment needed for two ICU patients, including ventilators and monitors as well as intravenous fluid stands and syringe drivers. the unit is connected to the rest of the hospital via an inflatable structure, which serves as storage and as a changing room. this inflatable unit could potentially be used to connect more than one pod, creating multiple modular configurations, either in proximity to a hospital or as a self-standing field hospital.
CURA has been developed as an open-source project, with its technical specifcations, drawings and design materials made universally accessible online. since the project’s launch, more than 2,000 people have shown an interest and contacted the CURA team to join the project, reproduce it, or provide technical advice. more units are currently under construction in other parts of the world, from the UAE to Canada.
CURA was designed and produced in four weeks by an international task force. the group includes, among the others, designers at Carlo ratti associati with italo rota, engineers at jacobs, and health technology company philips for medical equipment supply. the first prototype in turin has been developed with the financial sponsorship of unicredit. CURA is supported by the world economic forum (COVID-19 action platform and cities, and infrastructure and urban services platform).
the full list of contributors includes: humanitas research hospital (medical engineering), Policlinico di Milano (medical consultancy), MIT senseable city lab (research), studio FM milano (visual identity & graphic design), squint/opera (digital media), IEC engineering (fulvio sabato – safety and certifications), alex neame of team rubicon UK (logistics), ivan pavanello of projema (MEP engineering), dr. maurizio lanfranco of ospedale cottolengo (medical consultancy), gruppo boero (painting products).
CRA-Carlo ratti associati with italo rota (design and innovation), humanitas research hospital (medical engineering), Policlinico di Milano (medical consultancy), jacobs (alberto riva – master planning, design, construction and logistics support services), studio FM Milano (visual identity & graphic design), squint/opera (digital media), alex neame of team rubicon UK (logistics), ivan pavanello of projema (MEP engineering), dr. maurizio lanfranco of ospedale cottolengo (medical consultancy), philips (medical equipment supply)
With the support of the world economic forum: COVID-19 action platform, and cities, infrastructure and urban services platform