Stefano Boeri Designs Prefab Vaccination Pavilions to Pop Up Across Italy

Stefano Boeri Designs Prefab Vaccination Pavilions to Pop Up Across Italy

By Lucy Wang
About 1,500 solar-powered, rapidly deployable structures will occupy the country’s main squares—each emblazoned with a primrose-inspired symbol of hope.

Earlier this week, Italy unveiled the prefabricated hubs that will play a critical role in the country’s distribution of the coronavirus vaccine. Milan-based architect Stefano Boeri and a team of consultants worked pro bono to design the temporary pavilions, which will be deployed nationwide in public squares to provide mass vaccinations. The design also considers the campaign’s communications with a bright pink logo that takes the form of a primrose, a symbol of continuous rebirth that heralds the end of winter.

The pink floral logo will be printed on the pavilion’s roof and walls. The primrose has roots in Italian art history including Andrea del Verrocchio’s late-15th century sculpture Lady with Primroses as well as Pier Paolo Pasolini’s work Un Paese di temporali e primule.

"With the image of a springtime flower, we wanted to create an architecture that would convey a symbol of serenity and regeneration," explains Boeri, who is famous for designing Milan’s Vertical Forest, a skyscraper wrapped in a facade of trees and greenery. 

"Getting vaccinated will be an act of civic responsibility, love for others, and the rediscovery of life. If this virus has locked us up in hospitals and homes, the vaccine will bring us back into contact with life and the nature that surrounds us."

The prefab pavilions will be complemented with information booths as well as other communication elements including social media campaigns, posters, radio broadcasts, and brochures to help deter vaccine skepticism.

Italy was Europe’s first coronavirus hotspot, and the country recently surpassed the United Kingdom with the highest death toll in Europe and currently has over 1.8 million confirmed cases. The new campaign aims to uplift the public and encourage mass vaccinations with the motto "With a flower, Italy comes back to life."

Approximately 1,500 distribution sites will be set up across Italy at the height of the mass vaccination campaign.

"Italy’s squares will visually blossom with a flower," says Boeri's firm.

"The real challenge was designing the pavilions in outdoor spaces that could be built in a short time and include the flower as a constituent element," says Boeri in a streamed press conference on Sunday. "This pavilion is in the shape of a flower that can be easily dismantled with recyclable materials and comes with self-sufficient energy use, security, and protection."

A diagram of the pavilion components.

The sustainable, rapidly deployable structures will be built of natural materials, including a timber load-bearing structure wrapped in a water-resistant cover made from biodegradable and recyclable textiles.

The roof will be topped with solar panels that will generate enough energy to meet all of the pavilion’s operational needs. "Like a flower, they feed on sunlight," says Boeri.

The pavilion interior will be organized with prefabricated self-supporting fabric partitions built of flexible and sound-absorbing textiles. Separated waiting areas and vaccine administration rooms will be arranged around a central core housing service spaces that include office space, storage, changing rooms, and bathrooms.

The light-filled pavilions will be set on a wood base and engineered for easy assembly and dismantlement.

According to Domenico Arcuri, Rome’s special commissioner for the coronavirus response, Italy is expected to start vaccinating the approximately 1.8 million citizens that make up the country’s highest-priority group of health-care workers and long-term care residents in mid-January. 

According to a streamed press conference, the Italian government is currently working on a pavilion prototype.

The European Union’s 27 countries are waiting on the European Medicines Agency’s approval of the coronavirus vaccine to roll out their vaccination campaigns.

Related Reading:  8 Innovative Designs for Navigating Public Spaces During COVID-19

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