Architectural Firm Builds Public Health Clinics From Discarded Shipping Containers


The architecture reflects the times in which we live. Today, when public health and environmental issues have become pressing concerns, it is natural to create structures that respond to both. The latest project of the Delhi-based company Architectural discipline – mohalla clinics made from discarded shipping containers – is a good example.

“These mohalla clinics take advantage of the structural strength of discarded shipping containers, reducing the need for costly modifications or custom additions, allowing us to redefine post-industrial waste as a means of universal and affordable healthcare. . Composed of two 20-foot-long containers, these clinics house a reception, a waiting room, an examination room and a pharmacy, which makes them suitable for health checks, tests and routine vaccinations ”, Explain Akshat Bhatt, principal architect at Architecture Discipline, in a conversation with YSWeekender.

Akshat Bhatt, Principal Architect, discipline of architecture

The company

Interested in architecture since the age of thirteen when he first saw his architect uncle on the drawing board with all his gear and stationery, Akshat has been in this field for twenty years. His work is influenced by international practitioners, including Norman Foster, Richard Rogers and Daniel Libeskind.

He founded Architecture Discipline in 2007 in his quest to establish an equal opportunity architectural firm in India.

“We are a multidisciplinary practice and our work spans many typologies, ranging from residential and commercial projects to large-scale commercial and public projects spread across India. Our architectural expression is today anchored in regionalism. Each order is determined by a series of design processes, from large-scale mock-ups to long-term material studies, ”he explains.

The practice of the firm incorporates five important elements:

Their design approach ensures a balance between the public domain such as streets, squares or parks, and the private domain.

Today’s buildings are changing landscapes. Therefore, the company believes that the design should be open and adaptable with large, well-serviced and well-lit floors, to create spaces that can be used for multiple short-term activities and provide the possibility of a variety of long – term used.

Contemporary forms of expression must go hand in hand with technical innovation. Each of the company’s buildings is assembled, connected and coordinated with each other in various ways.

Their practice focuses on creating custom building elements that are repeated to add value while staying on budget.

Public buildings are the best example of design that breaks hierarchies and creates positive environments with equal access and opportunity.

Mohalla clinics by architectural discipline

Significant projects

The architectural discipline has many remarkable projects to its credit. Mana, which is a boutique hotel in Ranakpur in Udaipur valley, has a minimal palette of local stone, glass, steel and vinyl to create an intense yet bare look and feel. Local and regional forms of expression are widely used to create progressive work.

The Bhartiya City Township Discovery Center in Bangalore was designed as a temporary town hall and sales office, and carves out a distinct urban identity with its bright red egg-shaped auditorium and the use of glass, steel, fabric, sadarali local stone and wood. Made as a collection of pieces designed for easy disassembly, the tactility of this project is very engaging for visitors.

The JDH urban regeneration project was commissioned by the Royal Family of Jodhpur and Motherland Joint Ventures. The project aims to restore the walled city of Jodhpur to its former glory, breathing new life into its priceless monuments. The first project of this initiative was the restoration of the Toorji ka Jhalra, a step well that dates from the 9th century, followed by other historic buildings throughout the city.

“Some of our other notable projects are the Indian pavilion at Hannover Messe completed in 2015, which was voted the best pavilion in the 65-year history of the Mass; brand new developments for The Oberoi Hotels and Resorts, including the renovation of the 19th century building of The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata, and a series of new modular city hotels for the group; projects for The Leela Group and The Postcard Hotels and Resorts, ”shares Akshat.

Mohalla clinics by architectural discipline

Mohalla Clinics

With the onset of the pandemic, Akshat and his team began to explore the potential of containers in building healthcare facilities. They designed the Life Community Medical Center (LifeCMF), a modular healthcare facility concept built from shipping containers, and presented it at the London Design Biennale 2021.

Their mohalla clinics are a scaled-down version of this exhibit, building on its central ideas of prefabrication, ability to be deployed quickly and economic feasibility.

Akshat says, “We have approached the Delhi government with this proposal. The idea was accepted under the government program of mohalla clinics and was implemented with the support of TATA Power DDL. The discarded shipping containers came from various container yards in Delhi and Haryana. “

He adds: “The most distinctive feature of the project is that it uses discarded materials to solve an important socio-economic problem. access to primary health care. These clinics can be fully prefabricated with minimal on-site construction and can be deployed quickly, in just three to 15 days, depending on container supply.

In addition to the standard clinic model, a variant will also offer a reading room with a digital library on the upper level, providing a quiet space for study in dense agglomerations where such facilities are limited.

The clinic has essential services, accessories and pre-installed finishes. Its interiors aim to create a hygienic and comfortable environment for patients. They are thermally insulated and lined with birch wood free of volatile organic compounds for protection against external heat.

The interiors are also temperature controlled, with air conditioning. They are designed for easy maintenance with antimicrobial vinyl flooring and medical grade stainless steel countertops. The air conditioning system filters pollutants and server rack multiple outlets and 200L water tanks are installed to ensure a transparent plug-and-play system.

Currently, there are two clinics set up at Shakur Basti and Rani Bagh in Delhi. This number will be increased to 500 units in the near future. Based on user feedback, future prototypes will be further refined.

“By taking something forgotten and giving it new life, the mohalla clinics present a lasting solution to the health infrastructure crisis in our country,” Akshat explains.

Future prospects

For Akshat, being “sustainable” is not about adding certain design elements to a building. Rather, it is a value system that needs to be instilled in the design process. As such, his company Architecture Discipline claims sustainability as its design ethic.

“Reuse, recycle, replenish, save – these are the basic principles by which I live. The reality is that modern needs have not changed what has always been important: space, natural light, air, access to a clean and inspiring environment, and proximity to loved ones. The current scenario has only reiterated their importance. We therefore hope that this achievement will pave the way for a more sustainable and minimalist lifestyle and design ”, he shares.

Akshat believes that after the pandemic there is awareness that spaces must be designed flexibly to accommodate changing needs and aspirations. Her practice emphasizes wellness, natural light and ventilation and her clients are also investing more energy and resources in creating their homes. Going forward, he anticipates increased demand for flexible office space that can accommodate a hybrid model of work and technological integration to facilitate a low-tech economy.

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