Adapting Existing Spaces: New York City’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

As New York is facing unprecedented circumstances and as the numbers of infected people with the coronavirus are reaching new highs, officials are seeking fast and efficient solutions to generate useful spaces for patients. With a timeline of a few weeks, the city is looking into ways of altering the existing structures.

Predicting the need of 10 times the existing rooms available, Governor Andrew Cuomo requested from hospitals around the city to find solutions to increase their capacity by adding 50% more beds. To accommodate the expected 40,000 cases, The Greater New York Hospital Association, along with architecture firms specialized in healthcare, engineering firms, and construction managers are looking into ways to design more spaces for at least 10 sites. Investigating the possibilities of incorporating a useful number of beds, the team is investigating spaces with proper HVAC and treatment infrastructure.

© tetiana.photographer via Shutterstock

With the healthcare infrastructure overwhelmed in the city, and with a very strict delivery period, the main ideas revolve around transforming the existing spaces or altering others to incorporate the needed amenities. In fact, the governor stated that their options include bringing back old treatment areas that had been converted to office space. Other possibilities include converting big worship spaces like cathedrals.

While in general, the planning guidelines for new hospitals require 15 to 20 % of private dedicated to transmittable diseases, not all facilities could have prepared for a pandemic of this scale. Few exceptions can withstand unforeseen incidents like the Kimmel Pavilion at the NYU Langone hospital New York that has already converted seven floors for COVID-19 patients. In fact, “the technology, services, and HVAC infrastructure of Kimmel permit the conversion of entire floors from conventional medical-surgical rooms to ICU-type rooms capable of containing infections”.

News via Architectural Record.

We invite you to check out ArchDaily's coverage related to COVID-19, read our tips and articles on Productivity When Working from Home and learn about technical recommendations for Healthy Design in your future projects. Also, remember to review the latest advice and information on COVID-19 from the World Health Organization (WHO) website.

About this author
Cite: Christele Harrouk. "Adapting Existing Spaces: New York City’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic" 02 Apr 2020. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

© tetiana.photographer via Shutterstock


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