Opposite Office proposes converting Berlin's Brandenburg airport into superhospital

Opposite Office
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German studio Opposite Office has proposed creating a temporary Covid-19 superhospital inside Berlin's unfinished Brandenburg airport during the coronavirus pandemic.

Opposite Office founder Benedikt Hartl wrote an open letter to the German minister of health, Jens Spahn, proposing the idea to temporarily transform the unopened, 220,000-square-metre airport.

He believes that the project, titled Covid-19 Superhospital BER, would help support Germany for the outbreak should it get worse. So far, the country has over 75,000 confirmed cases of the virus.

The design allows for fast construction, similar to that of the the 1,000 bed Wuhan Huoshenshan Hospital, a 25,000-square-metre facility built in Wuhan to treat patients.

"The Corona hospital could be opened within a few days," said Hartl. "Let's take China's pragmatism and zest for action as a role model."

The proposal suggests using the current building structure and replacing seating areas at gates with round modular cabins. These could be constructed using steel frames and planking and fronted with a cloth curtain.

Renderings show each unit with a single bed, tray table and hospital monitor. A sink for medical professionals would attach to the curved backside of each bay.

"In this way, each patient receives their own retreat," the studio said. "The curved, round spatial structure creates a calm and secure place for recovery and relaxation."

Outside the building, runways and roads would be converted into makeshift test centres where people can drive up and get tested for the virus.

Opposite Office says the airport's isolated location offers a great advantage, as those who are sick would not come into contact with other patients, as in traditional hospitals.

Additionally, the studio sees this concept as a blueprint that could be implemented in other cities around the world since air travel is limited.

"The concept for the superhospital can be applied to all airports worldwide since air traffic is restricted and currently very limited," it said.

Berlin's Brandenburg airport was proposed as a replacement to the capital city's two aging airports, but now all three will operate. Construction first began on Brandenburg in 2006 and has suffered from a number of delays. It is currently set to open on 31 October 2020.

Opposite Office is a Munich-based architecture firm founded by Benedikt Hartl. The studio previously proposed redesigning Buckingham Palace into a co-living space as a solution to London's housing crisis.

Several other architects and companies have designed hospitals for treating coronavirus patients; these include inflatable pods by Gregory Quinn, a "standalone intensive care unit" by flatpack startup Jupe and shipping containers that can be added to hospitals.

The American Institute of Architects has also launched a task force to provide counsel on how to adapt buildings into healthcare facilities.

Opposite Office has proposed transforming the unopened Berlin Brandenburg airport

Opposite Office has proposed transforming the unopened Berlin Brandenburg airport


Each hospital bay would include a single bed, tray table, hospital monitor and sink


The modular cabins would be constructed with steel frames and planking


In the proposal, airport seating areas at gates would be replaced with the rows of hospital bays


The runways and roadways outside the airport would become makeshift test centres for drive up Covid-19 testing


Opposite Office says the design could be applied to airports all over the world as air travel is limited