Architectural Solutions for Pandemics Research

How can design meet the challenges of global health crises?

Published 2020

This report, published in April 2020, explores the architectural aspects of the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, proposing best practices for designing healthcare spaces to overcome current and future challenges. The investigation focuses on three areas: (1) optimizing spatial flows in healthcare facilities to prevent cross-contaminations, (2) defining standards and construction specifications for quickly adapting non-medical facilities into treatment centers, and (3) bolstering rural healthcare systems with adaptable modular buildings. Part of CAZA’s ongoing initiative to improve healthcare quality and access through design, the report’s findings and solutions are applicable not only to the immediate response to COVID-19 but also to the long-term goals of creating more robust healthcare facilities and systems.


The report develops circulation strategies that maintain critical separations between contaminated and clean zones in a healthcare facility while maximizing spatial efficiency. These strategies apply to a range of healthcare facilities, from small-scale temporary treatment centers to comprehensive infectious disease hospitals.


In most major cities, retrofitting existing facilities like hotels, arenas, and convention centers is an effective strategy for meeting spikes in demand. CAZA’s report evaluates temporary partitioning systems in terms of efficacy, ease of transport, adaptability, cost, installation requirements, and maintenance procedures, illuminating the advantages and disadvantages of each. It also outlines best practices for MEP systems, providing an overview of ventilation and plumbing strategies for preventing cross-contamination.

  • TOPICS: Healthcare facilities design, pandemic response, spatial standards and construction specifications for retrofitting healthcare facilities, modular building solutions, geographically-informed analysis and design