Moved by the stories of COVID-19 patients and medical professionals from around the world, Amsterdam-based architectural firm Studio Prototype has designed The Vital House, a conceptual, pop-up healthcare center built from sustainable, prefabricated elements. Developed with an eye on the future, the proposal explores the possibility of quick-to-assemble, temporary hospitals that could be preemptively built and packed away in warehouses until the need for them arises.

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rendering of hospital interior with person at desk and patient in bed

“As architects we can’t cure people, but we can make a contribution to make things more pleasant in the future for these people,” Studio Protype explained. Developed for quick construction close to the epicenters of virus outbreaks, The Vital House concept is a pop-up hospital dedicated to the treatment of contagious diseases. The architects propose building these structures from prefabricated timber elements for ease of assembly, disassembly, transportation and storage. Wood was also selected as the main material for its sustainable, carbon-sequestering benefits.

Related: Snøhetta designs healing forest cabins for patients at Norway’s largest hospitals

rendering of doctors traveling through a hallway

The most important purpose of The Vital House is to expand the capacity of intensive care units (ICUs), which would purportedly take up most of the footprint of the proposed design. In addition, each Vital House would include multiple “communication rooms” to safely receive visitors without risk of contamination. The design calls for a large green patio to provide access to nature, a research center for studying viral trends and a reflection space for those in grief. 

rendering of courtyard with timber benches

“The central vein in the building is a double access structure, existing out of a separate visitor’s hallway and healthcare staff corridor, all set to a stable air pressure,” Studio Prototype noted. “This air pressure is constantly being monitored in order to prevent the virus from spreading through the air.” There are no known plans for putting The Vital House into production. 

+ Studio Prototype

Images via Studio Prototype