The Covid-19 crisis has shown that governments need to prepare physical systems prior to future infectious diseases. How can a generative design method be used to configure an emergency hospital system that can be deployed during an epidemic, which simultaneously isolates and is comfortable for patients?

AID is both the construction and the generative design system. This means AID can be deployed effectively on any site in the UK, whilst maximising the potential for human comfort. AID is designed using standard dimensions, so the primary structure can be repurposed after an epidemic.

Programmatically the focus of AID is on the Isolation and ICU modules, as well as the parallel contaminated and clean circulation systems. Isolation modules accommodate patients who have, or are expected to have, the virus. Intensive care unit (ICU) modules facilitate two patients who require the use of ventilators. Both the isolation and ICU modules have dedicated air handling systems which maintain negative air pressure, as well as filtering contaminated air.

Generative design has been used to configure the system on a site in Manchester. This is the process of using algorithms to iterate through designs by the definition of key design goals. Design goals are parameterised and varied to create iterations and consequent analysis. We used the process shown to generate, measure and compare iterations. Maximising the potential for patient and staff comfort is the focus of the comparison, which we have quantified into sunlight and views. We generated 1200 iterations. Once selected, we added to the design by: manually organising the ground floor programme, allocating ICU and isolation modules to cells, and by adding communal spaces.

AID as an example of a creative and thorough construction system, suited to biocontainment, and an innovative use of generative design to quickly react to emergency situations.