Italians Design “CURA Pods” – An Emergency Hospital Made From Shipping Containers

Italy remains as one of the worst-hit countries by the pandemic globally. As the number of confirmed cases increases by the day, more hospitals suffer from overcrowding. So, to address this growing issue, a team of designers, engineers, medical professionals and military experts have come together to build makeshift isolation wards, dubbed as CURA Pods.

CURA is an open-source, not-for-profit project that aims to streamline capacity building in Intensive Care Units (ICU). It involves repurposing shipping containers and turning them into compact plug-in ICU. As such, it would be easier to deploy them to different countries across the world. In turn, this would allow for a more rapid response to patients with serious respiratory infections due to coronavirus.

Annex to Hospital
Squint Opera


CURA stands for Connected Units for Respiratory Ailments, which also happens to mean “cure” in Latin

CURA Pod Exterior Fit Out
Carlo Ratti Associati


Emergency COVID-19 Field Hospital Exterior View
Carlo Ratti Associati


“CURA aims to be as fast to mount as a hospital tent, but as safe as an isolation ward to work in, thanks to biocontainment equipment with negative pressure.”

Initiated by Italian architect Carlo Ratti, the 20-foot container contains all the necessary ICU equipment. These include surgical beds, IV controller and fluid bags, as well as respirator and ECG monitors, to name a few.

CURA Pod Module Interior View 1
Carlo Ratti Associati


Each CURA pod is big enough to accommodate two patients and is able to work autonomously

CURA Pod Interior Fit Out copy
Carlo Ratti Associati


Emergency COVID-19 Field Hospital Configuration 2
Squint Opera

It features an inflatable structure that allows connection to other pods, creating multiple modular configurations. The first prototype is currently in the works in Milan, Italy, with the sponsorship of UniCredit Bank. Likewise, the World Economic Forum has extended its support to the project.

Emergency COVID-19 Field Hospital Configuration 1
Squint Opera


CURA Pods Bio Hub
Carlo Ratti Associati

Indeed, when combating a crisis such as the ongoing pandemic, no help is ever too small. In recent days, we’ve seen various acts of kindness, in addition to the launch of the CURA project.

For one, we’ve seen supermarket chains do their part to prevent reckless hoarding of essential goods. In addition, some artists and celebrities have begun imparting their skills online, in the hopes of spreading some positivity. Without a doubt, it is during these trying times when humanity and compassion should reign supreme more than ever.


Learn more about the CURA compact plug-in intensive care unit through the video below

Sources: Squint Opera | CURA | Carlo Ratti Associati