The effects of natural disasters continue to press the need for longer term health care in remote and underserved populations struggling to reclaim their livelihood. In making this a reality, the nonprofit Containers To Clinics can play a pivotal role. They are exploiting the durability and portability of container architecture to provide timely, quality health care around the world. C2C is now using their first container based clinics in Haiti and wants to roll out many more of the custom containers in the near future.
The containers are more complex than one would guess after a first glance. C2C partnered with Anshen + Allen Architects and Stack Design Build to design and build a prototype, and the team has commissioned Allied Container Systems to build the clinics in quantity. The trick is to design a full service health clinic with examination rooms and labs in difficult areas to get to and operate. The 8’ by 20’ shipping containers have to conform to ISO standards to be transported via ship. By breaking the program into two separate containers, the transportability is greatly increased. The design allows the containers to sit in an L configuration to create a small courtyard for waiting patients.
The design is based on two tightly constructed rooms using a robust mechanical system to utilize multiple electrical sources. One container houses two examination rooms with a sink and basic medical supplies. The second container holds a lab, supplies, refrigeration, pharmacy and diagnostic equipment. The mechanical space is accessed by the side doors to allow for service without disrupting the work inside.
One of the design challenges is to keep the clinic cool under a intense tropical sun. The first line of defense is a highly reflective paint and overhead canopy. Windows open for cross breezes and solar powered fans run even when power is not available. AC can be use when enough power is available, and a 2-inch spray foam is applied providing up to r-14 insulation.
C2C is looking to develop custom clinics for women and children’s health needs across the world and anticipates building 50 clinics in the next decade to serve that population. The first units cost $80,000 to build, but the prices are anticipated to dramatically go down when production is scaled up. While it’s just a small dent in the overwhelming need for health services worldwide, the vision of C2C demonstrates just how powerful mobile design can be for health providers.