CURA (Connected Unit for Respiratory Ailments) is an open-source temporary ICU-unit design by Carlo Ratti Associati and an international team of medical engineers, consultants, contractors, and engineers. The design transforms shipping containers into fully equipped ICU units designed for respiratory care and employs a negative pressure system for biocontainment. The units can be connected to form temporary hospital wards and expand ICU capacity during the Covid-19 pandemic. While prototypes have been realised in Italian cities, like Turin and Milan, the project also speculates and anticipates a worldwide application and is supported by UniCredit and the World Economic Forum among others.
Italy was one of the countries hit the hardest during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic. During this challenging time, formal institutions such as hospitals struggled to meet the high demand for respiratory care units. Carlo Ratti Associati and their interdisciplinary team decided to take action themselves before it was too late. They used their design and engineering abilities to create ICU units using inexpensive and readily available shipping containers. Their project began as a bottom-up initiative and later gained support from formal funding institutions to scale up and boost the positive impact.
Relation to Resilience
The ICU units help the healthcare system to flexibly increase its capacity for intensive care when it is needed.