The COVID-19 pandemic, which affects a large part of the world, promotes reflection in all areas. Architecture and Planning are undoubtedly among them. The public health emergency placed a strong pressure on the healthcare system and infrastructures. Hospitals responded well due to the effort and creativity of the healthcare professionals. Healthcare personnel is the only resource that cannot be manufactured or built.
The reuse of buildings and the addition of new facilities of all kinds was used to support and provide more space to hospitals. Some media use the term “architecture” to define these actions. During critical situations, it is essential to activate emergency solutions for survival. However, these solutions do not meet any of the qualities of today’s healthcare architecture, neither for patients nor for those who work there. These solutions are, as Nikolaus Pevsner would say, “bicycle sheds”.
The emergency must be the exception. We must work to improve our ability to respond in critical situations and use these experiences to advance, even faster, in the current lines of research of the healthcare architecture. The COVID-19 “architecture” is not here to stay. You cannot even have a building for every disease. That is something of past centuries. Architecture, including healthcare architecture, is part of a country’s culture. It must be preserved and, in times like these, it should not be forgotten when building health facilities.
The article is written by Francesc Pernas Galí, architect and president of CASA SOLO
and has been published on Hospitecnia.