Architects taking action to support COVID-19 response

WASHINGTON March 26, 2020 – In an effort to support
the COVID-19 response, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has launched
a task force to help inform public officials, healthcare facility owners and
architects on adapting buildings into temporary healthcare facilities.

“On a daily basis, I am hearing
from our architects who feel a deep sense of moral duty to support our
healthcare providers on the frontlines of this pandemic,” said AIA 2020
President Jane Frederick, FAIA. “As our communities assess buildings to address
growing surge capacity, we hope this task force will be a resource to ensure buildings
are appropriately and safely adapted for our doctors and nurses.”

AIA encourages federal, state and local
government to adapt appropriate existing buildings to meet the growing
healthcare and quarantine needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The task force is charged with developing a COVID-19
Rapid Response Safety Space Assessment for AIA members that will include
considerations for the suitability of buildings, spaces, and other sites for
patient care. The assessment will be developed by architects with a wide range
of expertise, including healthcare facility design, urban design, public health
and disaster assistance.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic public health
response there is an unprecedented need for the adaptive reuse of buildings to
serve a variety of functions,” said environmental health scientist Dr. Molly
Scanlon, FAIA, FACHA, who is the director of standards, compliance and research
at Phigenics[1]. “Architects and our allied design and
construction professionals are in a unique position to leverage our advanced
problem-solving skills to bring forth ideas for community implementation.”    

The task force—chaired by Dr. Scanlon—plans to
release its report in early April in an effort to help inform decisions to address
the pandemic.

“This is a race against time for healthcare
facilities to meet bed surge capacity needs” said AIA Academy of Architecture
for Health President Kirsten Waltz, AIA, ACHA, EDAC, LEED, who is the director
of facilities, planning and design at Baystate Health[2]. “This task force will
help inform best practices for quickly assessing building inventory and
identifying locations that are most appropriate to be adapted for this crisis.”

Waltz and other members of the task force are
helping bridge the needs of healthcare providers by modifying hospitals and
smaller facilities to meet the growing bed surge demand and to increase areas
for medical screening, triage, and other patient care.

                                                                 – –[3]

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