Students’ portable Ebola clinic designs draw worldwide attention

George Mann

George Mann

Design concepts for portable, rapidly deployable Ebola virus treatment clinics created by Texas A&M Master of Architecture students received worldwide media attention after they were unveiled Sept. 24, 2014 in the Langford Architecture Center.

“The Ebola outbreak in West Africa underscores the need for these inexpensive, easily erected modular facilities where patients inflicted with the Ebola virus or other infectious diseases can be treated while isolated from the general population,” said George J. Mann, holder of the Skaggs Professorship in Health Facilities Design and director of the graduate architecture studio that undertook the project.

Media outlets in Italy and Germany reported on the students’ designs, as did Newsweek, the Voice of AmericaFast CompanyDurability + Design and HealthCity.

Reports by local television stations KBTX and KRHD were also rebroadcast in news programs throughout the United States.

Students in Mann’s studio, wrote Newsweek’s Zoe Schlanger, created “11 designs that could be easily shipped in a shipping container or a cargo plane, light enough to be airlifted by a helicopter, and simple enough to be assembled on the fly, in a parking lot or an open field.”

Soheil Hamideh, wrote Schlanger, designed an Ebola ward made of a flexible, UV-resistant material that could be folded for compact shipping and then expanded, accordion-style, into long rectangular units to accommodate 48 patients.

“Another student, Qianqian Zhang, designed her units to resemble a network of geometric cells,” wrote Schlanger. “The walls would be made from Polytetrafluoroethylene, a highly waterproof, lightweight synthetic material stretched over a simple beam structure with joining pieces, like a sophisticated hard-sided tent.”

The region’s hot, rainy weather is addressed in another student's design that employs a double shell exterior to minimize interior heat and a pitched roof for channeling heavy rainfall.

Health care professionals who advised the students included P.K. Carlton, Jr., former surgeon general of the U.S. Air Force; Dr. Eric Wilke, health authority for the Brazos County Health Department; Mike Paulas, emergency preparedness and response coordinator for the BCHD and retired Air Force Major General Annette Sobel, a specialist in global disease surveillance. 

Carlton, Paulas, Sobel and Harold Adams ‘61, a Texas A&M Institute for Advanced Study Faculty Fellow, attended the Sept. 24 review.

For more information, contact Mann at gmann@arch.tamu.edu or 979.845.7856.

posted September 22, 2014