"Bubble Parking_design for COVID-19 in a medical clinic". _Yasue Imai

It is a design for the conversion of a clinic parking lot into an outpatient fever section.

Who would have predicted this spread of COVID-19 would drastically change our perception of the world in 2020?

In the small clinic where my father works, it was difficult to install a PCR testing booth which is atmospherically separated from the general medical area.’How to avoid nosocomial infection—‘ was a serious concern since the summer of 2020, when we were faced to the first winter of COVID-19.

In order to respond flexibly to the transition of a medical situation, we decided to locate a fever outpatient section using 1.5 cars in the parking lot which existed downstairs of the clinic.

All of the new building elements are vinyl curtains. By using different transparency, length, and details, functional zoning is achieved. The curtains are easy to remove, and their smoothness reduces the stress for daily disinfection and maintenance.

The existing RC structure was built in 1971, and this garage area was just roughly finished for 50 years. This time, I applied glossy coating on the floor and ceiling of a project area, so the room can be easily wiped clean.

The patient side is completely airtight with transparent-blue vinyl walls. In a small clinic where only one doctor and a few nurses can handle all the outpatients, it is very important to keep the patients and medical staff separate from each other. So they can reduce the time required to put on and take off protective clothing.

Two curtains are placed in the patient side, to divide into three areas: waiting area, consultation area, and examination area.

The curtains are all hung with curved rails in a semicircle shape, allowing the degree of opening and closing to be adjusted seamlessly. This greatly reduces the psychological stress on the patients who are surrounded by the curtains.

In the waiting area, two benches with partitions and backrests made of vinyl fabric are placed.

Three different types of vinyl fabric, a half-milky fabric, a yellow opaque fabric, and a blue transparent fabric, were used. The overlapping of the clear colors looks so fresh in the corner of the rusty parking lot. It intuitively tells the street that this 1.5 cars space is emergently engaged as a space for people.

The challenge of this project was to position the space itself as a notice board, to send the community a message as a family doctor in response to the unprecedented spread of infection.If the clinic is not equipped with a space for infectious diseases, the psychological burden on not only patients suspected of being infected, but also those who visit the clinic for all other diseases, and above all, on the medical staff, is immeasurable. Even if the facilities are minimal, the visualization of this small set-up in the area connected to the street conveys the information that the clinic is a place where people can consult if they have any problems.

Now we can hear the small sound of bubbles bursting all over the world, the everyday space is going to open up again —a space full of information, fresh, and relaxed.This design was born out of a serious concern, and the proposal includes a lightness of installation that allows anyone to easily remove it and return the space to its original parking lots when it is no longer needed. As a designer, I hope that the out-of-bubble day will come soon.

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