Urban Poor Against COVID-19

nipun prasad
University of Moratuwa
Sri Lanka

Project idea

COVID-19 pandemic has posed numerous challenges to the mankind in a moment of time that will change and create a revolution in the way man lives, works and uses space. Among the many changes in behaviour and response to space, “social distancing”, “isolation” and “quarantine” have become a set of crucial terms in the day to day vocabulary. These terms are very much associated with space creation thus, the very definitions of them need to be essentially “re-examined”.
It is primarily needed “to avoid the transmittance of the virus from one person to another” but for humans to remain healthy in body and mind, it is essential to explore how it would impact human life and how can spaces be designed in response, encompassing all that space can do for people.
Considering neighbourhoods such as slums/ shanties where space is limited in individual housing units, self-isolation within homes are challenging. Nevertheless, upon the prevailing health hazard, an architectural intervention in the form of a quarantine space/pod was in vitality for individuals with COVID-19 symptoms to be Isolated from the healthy members of their family and neighbours.

Project description

The proposal is providing a temporary self-isolation and quarantine shelter within the context. However, it is also enormously intricate due to the higher congestion in the housing schemes hence the solution emerged as a system of elevated vertical modules on roads and alleyways which were the only available unbuilt spaces within the context.

Technical information

Prototype modules are held by a scaffolding framework which stands on the ground without interrupting the roadside activity, light, and ventilation. The compact modules consist of furniture, equipment, sleeping space and sanitary facilities. Interior wood finish and high ceiling create a fitter atmosphere rather than their typical living condition. This built structure forms an all new context (neighbourhood) with pockets of public spaces and domestic scale agricultural spaces. Community can be involved in the planting process during pandemic such that they can empower their level of income. The built scheme interprets the already existing sense of interconnection among the housing units in an efficient way and also captures great views into the shelters. Prototype system is flexible to replicate and can be adopted to many other sites with only slight modifications to its original configuration. It can also be assembled and disassembled in a limited time period and rather significantly, the construction only sources local materials and labour.


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