In a pro bono effort to help increase health-care access in developing countries worldwide, award-winning San Francisco architecture firm Anshen + Allen is using ArchiCAD building information modeling (BIM) software to transform run-of-the-mill shipping containers into rapid-deployment health clinics.
Anshen + Allen is an international leader in the design of healthcare, academic and research buildings, with a conviction that "good design can transform lives." The firm's client is Containers to Clinics (C2C), a non-profit organization committed to delivering primary health care to women and children in underserved areas of the developing world. Anshen + Allen architects started its design with two empty 8-foot-by-20-foot containers and created two modern exam/consultation spaces, a laboratory and a pharmacy.
"Space, heat, hygiene and security were our main design challenges," said Mali Ouzts, lead designer for Anshen + Allen. "GRAPHISOFT's ArchiCAD helped us visualize alternatives, explore them virtually, collaborate with the client, make sound design decisions, and complete a prototype in a matter of a few weeks. The project took just one-third of the time that it would have if we had used two-dimensional software. The final design is an ultra-efficient use of space and resources."
Spearheading the project and consulting on the final design was Elizabeth Sheehan, C2C executive director, who has devoted her career to medical care for women and children in the developing world. She has worked as a physician's assistant in clinics and hospitals in Cambodia, India, Tibet, Nepal and several countries in Africa.
The final clinic design includes examination beds, ample ventilation, insulation to retain cool air, and a false wall with an automatically locking door, enabling the clinic to revert to a locked-down container during off hours. Anshen + Allen relied heavily on ArchiCAD material, profile, window and rendering tools.
The first clinic is scheduled to be shipped to the Dominican Republic and will be installed in a rural community 90 minutes outside of Santo Domingo. As with all the container clinics, it will be a fully functional health facility with medicines and will be locally staffed to ensure integration with the local culture. The containers are easily shipped by sea and on flatbed trucks. C2C is also actively working to help Haiti in the wake of its devastating January 12 earthquake.