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EMERGENCY FACILITIES LAURA TONELLI, PABLO VIQUEIRA – ARCHITECTS, UNIVERSITY OF BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA


Emergency healthcare solutions for Argentina


Facing the urgency of having enough sanitary spaces to treat COVID-19 patients without collapsing the existing healthcare institutions, Argentina has been forced to build new, emergency healthcare facilities. In this article, architects Laura Tonelli and Pablo Viqueira outline their idea for supplementing that new infrastructure with modular systems based on repurposed shipping containers.


Argentina belongs to the list of underdeveloped nations. We have a young, large and federal country, with a fragmented structure and a wide range of economic and social differences – a product of immigration and so a mixture of races and cultures. The great concentration of urban people has led to overcrowding and, as our cities have grown, deficient planning regarding infrastructure and environmental awareness. Many of our healthcare institutions,


historically dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of disease, were built decades ago under the same international medical paradigm. It should be noted that the health system in our country has three sub-sectors: public, private administration, and the Social Security institutions. Most public hospitals along the national territory respond to the pavilion typology and the private ones show a vertical morphology as the real state value is decisive. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and


the wave of infections, the physical planning of hospitals and other healthcare resources has changed radically. This includes the decision-making process. From our point of view, telemedicine


will take care of most healthcare demands, with some exceptions in critical sectors as emergencies, surgical treatments, specific treatments as oncology and dialysis, mental and gerontological hospitalisations, obstetrical and neonatal care as well as


Tecnópolis Convention Centre adapted to medical needs during the pandemic.


intensive care units. This change in the healthcare paradigm is undoubtedly leading to a rethinking of care for all ages.


Healthcare architecture solutions Architects and engineers that work in healthcare architecture are witnessing a profound change in the way we approach


hospital spaces as a result of the COVID- 19 pandemic, and it became clear that not all hospitals are capable or flexible enough to offer adequate care in this situation. As a consequence, we have been forced to provide quick responses in a short time with the aim of providing care to a large number of patients.


Aerial view of one of the 12 modular hospitals built in Argentina during the pandemic. Right: Interior of a modular hospital built for COVID-19.


Laura Tonelli


Laura is a licensed architect, master in health policies and procedures, Europe/Latin American, University of Bologna, Italy, and a healthcare architecture specialist, at the University of Buenos Aires. She has experience in planning, consulting, design and construction oversight of new projects, refunctionalisation and remodelling of public, private and social security hospitals and institutions.


IFHE DIGEST 2021 Pablo Viqueira


Pablo is a licensed architect and healthcare architecture specialist at


the University of Buenos Aires. He is a researcher in healthcare architecture, and has experience in planning,


consulting, design and construction oversight of new projects,


refunctionalisation and remodelling of public and private institutions.


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