Munich architect Opposite Office has written to the German government to suggest turning Berlin’s still unfinished Brandenburg Airport into a treatment centre for Covid-19 cases, Designboom reports.
The practice’s founder, Benedikt Hartl, put his plan in an open letter to Jens Spahn, the minister for health.
Germany is facing a percentage infection rate of around 12% a day, according to World Health Organisation data, and although the death rate is 1.1%, compared with 11.7% in Italy and 8.7% in Spain, this would be likely to worsen were the country to run out of hospital space and equipment.
Opposite Office’s rendering of the isolation pods in situ
Hartl noted how Spain’s and Italy’s health systems were struggling.
"This will also face Germany, since the outbreak is some days behind," he wrote. "We have had time to prepare for the pandemic."
He added that unkind comparisons were made between Wuhan’s ability to build a 1,000-bed isolation hospital in 10 days, and the 14 years it has taken, so far, to open Berlin’s international airport (see Further reading).
With the aviation industry presently parking more than 40% of its planes, completion of the airport is less urgent, making Brandenburg a good choice to be transformed into what Hartl calls a "superhospital".
The design could fit hundreds of pods into the airport’s 22ha of available space
Other advantages are the isolation of the building and the 22ha of internal space available for separation and medical equipment.
Opposite Architects’ design proposes the installation of steel isolation pods at each of the airport’s gates. The work could also be done quickly, given the amount of spare capacity and inventory in the German construction industry at present.
He added that the concept could be applied to airports worldwide.
Top image: Brandenburg airport is presently scheduled to be open at the end of the year