Designing beyond health emergency

Designing the future
  • Location
    Four different geographical lots: Romagna Region (Ravenna and Riccione), central Toscana Region (Empoli, Prato and Florence) Milan and Cremona. For each geographical lot, the location of the interventions is then distributed over several hospital sites.
  • Country
  • Customer
    ASST Fatebenefratelli Sacco
    ASST Cremona
    AUSL of Romagna Region
    USL Central Toscana Health Care authority
  • Team
    Politecnica Ingegneria ed Architettura Soc. Coop.
  • Service
    Technical and financial feasibility design, final design, construction design, safety coordination at design & implementation stages, works management
  • Assignment
    Project Management
    Environment and landscape
    Hydrology and hydraulics
    Fire prevention
  • Project
    2021 - ongoing

Improving the responsiveness of hospital facilities to potential pandemic events and upgrading emergency, intensive or sub-intensive care units by separating flows of people, integrating equipment, increasing beds.
Learning from recent unforeseen experiences and improving the ability of healthcare structures to function even in the face of a pandemic crisis. Politecnica undertook to design by accepting the challenge of implementing flexible, yet reliable, solutions within the available budget and timeframe.

The Project

The project is aimed at strengthening the emergency, intensive and sub-intensive care units of several hospitals in considerably different settings. 

In Milan, the facilities are sited in the city centre (Fatebenefratelli, Buzzi and Melloni Hospitals) and on the outskirts (Sacco Hospital). In Cremona, the hospital area is a large isolated lot although connected to the city. In Romagna, hospitals are generally located in fairly central contexts, but the Forlì hospital is located in a historical park in the suburban area. The location of operations in Tuscany is also varied.

The project aims to separate flows, integrate equipment and increase the number of intensive and sub-intensive care beds.

In order to preserve the smooth running of the hospital even in emergencies, differentiated entrance and exit routes were designed, using the perimeter spaces as a filter for proper social distancing. The use of the quintuple body (double corridor) has proved to be a useful functional choice to guarantee clean circuits with separate areas for easier management. 

Areas suitable for hosting tensile structures or mobile structures outside the buildings have been equipped with drainage networks, pipelines, power supply for air conditioning and heating, and useful technologies for digital communication. Spaces for telemedicine activities have been identified in some hospitals.

In order to preserve regular operation in case of emergency, a dedicated A.T.U. (Air Handling Unit) has been provided on each floor. (Air Handling Unit) on each floor, also enhancing the redundancy of electrical energy with an increased number of isolation transformers.

In order to have flexibility in accommodation capacity, where possible medical gases were oversized to create double lines for fluids as well, enlarging the space needed to run new pipes and, in some cases, providing new tanks for O2.

In record time, prefabricated modules were built and added to the emergency areas of the existing hospitals. Their function is to house intensive and sub-intensive care beds and, in the emergency rooms, observation areas for patients with infectious diseases. 

From a plant engineering point of view, work has been done on sizing to meet the need for versatility and dynamism (balance between excess and efficiency), providing for more air changes in the intensive and sub-intensive care units. 

In August 2021, the first interventions were completed, putting the new beds into operation.


Contribution to the SDGs goals

  • There are two paths that must be guaranteed to citizens worldwide: safe access to treatment in hospitals and the penetration of health flows into the system of territorial networks. After the pandemic, access to health services was denied to patients with chronic pathologies, but these are easy to manage if a support network is organised between Level III hospitals, community hospitals, territorial hospitals and local pharmacies, with coordination by GPs.
    Strategies to guarantee access to services require sustainability and technology. Sustainability for the best use of available areas, technology in terms of plant and communication.