RSHP and BuroHappold Engineering designs New Mobile Health Clinic Prototype

26 September 2018

A real mobile health clinic has been built for the first time at Wellcome Collection.

A real mobile health clinic has been built for the first time at Wellcome Collection. Designed for Doctors of the World by RSHP Senior Partner Ivan Harbour and Associate Partner Andrew Partridge, and with BuroHappold Engineering with ChapmanBDSP, the Global Clinic demonstrates how architecture can respond to a worldwide issue in health today.

Visitors will have the opportunity to see the first complete version of the Global Clinic in the gallery which will be deployed for use in a location where it is needed immediately following its presentation at Wellcome Collection.

The clinic has been developed to meet the urgent need to provide flexible, robust structures for delivering healthcare in emergency situations and remote locations all over the world, where tents prove too flimsy and shipping containers too difficult to transport. Independent humanitarian charity Doctors of the World has worked with architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) and engineers BuroHappold with ChapmanBDSP to find an innovative solution. Together they have produced a clinic building made from plywood and constructed by a CNC (computer numerical control) machine, which is both adaptable and strong. Easy to transport and build, these structures hold the potential to be the temporary health clinic of the future.

The Global Clinic was chosen from an open call to realise a full scale architectural project within the Wellcome Collection’s first floor gallery. It is presented alongside prototypes, as well as concepts and background research relating to its design and development. The work of a group young designers aged 14-19 will also be displayed, including ideas for furniture or tools that could be used alongside the clinic in the field.

The clinic is part of Living with Buildings, Wellcome Collection’s major exhibition which spans two galleries to examine the positive and negative influence buildings have on our health and wellbeing. From Dickensian slums to high-rise towers, and the design principles that have inspired hospitals, health centres and therapeutic spaces, it includes buildings designed by Lubetkin, Goldfinger and Aalto and works by artists Camille Pissarro, Andreas Gursky and Giles Round. ‘Living with Buildings: Health and Architecture’ is curated by Emily Sargent, and opens at Wellcome Collection on 04 October 2018, running until 3 March 2019. ‘Global Clinic’ runs until 22 April 2019. The exhibition has inspired a book – Living with Buildings – by bestselling author Iain Sinclair, published by Wellcome Collection and Profile Books in September 2018.

“RSHP has been given a fantastic opportunity to develop and build a Global Clinic in the context of ‘Living with Buildings’ exhibition about architecture, society and health. Architecture has the ability and the responsibility to improve people’s lives and nowhere is this more important than in a building dedicated to making people well. Our aim has been to create a clinic that is adaptable to many environments, simple and economic to build, focused on patient care and welcoming and accessible by all patients.” Ivan Harbour, Senior Partner, RSHP

“It has been fascinating working with Doctors of the World and how they help people in many different locations worldwide. Developing the design for a mobile clinic with the team has truly been a hands-on experience and has enabled us to push constructability to do more with less. Our design humanises the experience of visiting a clinic and offers climatic and culturally adaptability” Andrew Partridge, Associate Partner, RSHP

“This is an amazing project. We are working hand-in-hand with Doctors of the World to develop a high performing, low cost, simple to erect shelter which can be sent around the world city-to-city by email.” Jon Shanks, Associate, BuroHappold Engineering

About Wellcome Collection

Wellcome Collection is a free museum and library for the incurably curious. Inspired by the medical objects and curiosities collected by Henry Wellcome, it connects science, medicine, life and art. Through its exhibitions, live programming, and digital and publishing activity, it makes thought provoking content which aims to challenge how we think and feel about health.

About Doctors of the World UK

Doctors of the World fights to improve long-term access to healthcare in the UK and internationally. We believe access to healthcare is a human right, but all too often it is denied to the most vulnerable in society, such as refugees, the homeless and trafficked people. We focus on long-term systemic changes, rather than quick fixes.

About BuroHappold

BuroHappold Engineering is an international, integrated engineering consultancy operating in 23 locations worldwide, with over 50 partners and over 1800 employees including some of the world’s leading consulting engineers. For over 40 years we’ve been building our reputation for delivering creative, value led building and city solutions for an ever changing world.

About ChapmanBDSP

ChapmanBDSP is an owner led business specialising in all aspects of building services and environmental consultancy. It is proud to have delivered world-class projects in more than 30 countries.