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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Architecture for Health series to be held on Zoom

LA+Hospital
Photo by Creative Commons
LA Hospital

The Fall 2020 weekly visiting lecture series “Architecture for Health” will be held on Zoom this semester, focusing on surge capacity in hospitals.
The lecture series will be held on Zoom every Friday from 1:35 to 2:25 p.m. through Nov. 20. The Aug. 28 lecture will include Dr. P.K. Carlton, retired Lt. General USFA, and Allan R. Parr, chief executive partner of an architecture firm known as REES.
The series’ theme, “Surge Capacity: Health Care Preparedness for all Hazard Response,” evaluates different aspects of creating and operating healthcare facilities for patient surges during natural and human-made disasters, such as hurricanes, terrorism and pandemics.
George Mann, American Institute of Architects organizer of health lecture series and endowed professor of health facilities design, said surge hospitals are essential at all times, but are more prominent now during a pandemic.
“The [architecture] students have a lot of ideas, so I decided we’d do a lecture series on it and we’d couple that with a design studio,” Mann said. “The architecture students need to be sensitive to the fact that if we have a disaster and a beautiful hospital, but not enough room, what do you do? You could spring up tents or take over a hotel.”
The country has often used surge hospitals in times of disaster, however Carlton said surge hospitals face new threats during a pandemic. Carlton has worked directly with surge hospitals for over 20 years, and his upcoming lecture will cover how these hospitals can be designed to safely handle airborne illnesses.
“With COVID-19, we have to think differently, and we have to figure out how to treat the air because this is an airborne illness, and if you put a large number of people together with or without COVID, you’re liable to get other people infected,” Carlton said. “I’ll be speaking about COVID-19 and how to protect from it, with the idea that then the students involved can integrate that into their designs for surge hospitals.”
Dean of the College of Architecture Jorge Vanegas said the design of cities and buildings directly impacts health, especially if one designs buildings incorrectly.
“What George Mann has done is create a whole bunch of lecture series over the years that have to be very responsive to the realities that we’ve had,” Vanegas said. “Ten years ago, when we had the H1N1 Virus and Ebola, George Mann Studios challenged our [architecture] students to think of what we can do [to help]…A lot of people don’t realize how [the] architecture touches their lives in every single possible way, and that’s why we have that lecture series and why I’m a total supporter of the concept of sharing it.”
The response and recovery times are critical moments during natural disasters, Vanegas said. This series will focus on recovery, response and the next steps from a public health and architecture perspective.
“[Architects] are responsible for the infrastructure of water, energy, waste and the facilities that are temporary to support the first responders, so when you have Surge hospitals, it’s because of architecture,” Vanegas said. “Architecture touches people’s lives in ways they don’t even realize, and it’s an integral part of what we do.”
To access the Zoom links and passcodes for the series, email [email protected].

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