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How Architects and Designers Can Respond to COVID-19

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How Architects and Designers Can Respond to COVID-19

In times of crisis, it is human nature to want to help. Where can designers be most effective? How do we put our skills to use in the right context, at the right time? COVID-19 is a medical crisis, certainly, but it’s also a psychological, economic, and logistical crisis. Without a vaccine on the immediate horizon, with no initial herd immunity, our primary method of stemming the flow of destruction is a spatial response: social distancing and quarantine.

Surely the design community has something to contribute here, right?

Field Hospital in Central Park, New York
Common Edge Field Hospital in New York City, NY by DLR Group.

In Washington state, we are working with King County on a variety of solutions to provide 2,500 clinical beds for those exposed to or recovering from the coronavirus. These include quick-response field clinics, portable housing, as well as transitioning a warehouse and motels into quarantine facilities for homeless individuals and others who have been exposed to the virus but do not need intensive care. According to DLR Group Principal Lori Coppenrath, LEED AP, “This need emerged quickly, and the existing relationship and trust that had been built over the years provided the county with the confidence to move forward. The fact that we had in-house engineering also made things a little simpler for the resource- and time-stretched county.”

Read on to see what peer firms and communities are doing in Common Edge.

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