COVID-19 Conversions: How to Turn Public Assembly Spaces into Hospitals

  • Erin Peavey
  • Sheila Ruder
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With surge capacity needs being driven by new or growing COVID-19 hot spots around the U.S., public health officials must quickly weigh options to prepare multiple building types for conversion into temporary patient care facilities to offload low-acuity health system demand. HKS has developed conceptual plans for hotels, schools and public assembly spaces that can be rapidly converted to patient care without requiring hard-walled construction.

The third report in our COVID-19 Conversions series is a concept study of how to quickly convert a public venue into functional patient care spaces. Large assembly spaces, including arenas and convention centers, share attributes that make them efficient and easily convertible in times of pandemic, including:

  • Many public assembly spaces are publicly-owned facilities, helping streamline contractual negotiations for quicker occupation
  • Their large flat floors offer flexible patient care configurations which can easily expand or contract, depending on need
  • Efficient loading systems for quick set-up and delivery; readily available facilities staff to assist; and easy vehicular and transit access located in city center.

Download the full report for details.

HKS collaborated with SSR provide MEP expertise to advise the team on safe environments for patients and staff.  

For more information, contact:

Vince Tam, AIA, AICP

Erin Peavey, AIA, EDAC, LEED AP BD+C

Layal Bitar, SITES AP, MLA

John Lyon, MSN, MBA


Erin Peavey

Erin Peavey is an Architect and Design Researcher at HKS. She bridges the gap between research and practice, with a focus on design for health and wellbeing. Erin has been named a Rising Star by Healthcare Design Magazine and Healthcare Design's Best Under 40 by the AIA-AAH.

Sheila Ruder

Sheila Ruder is an Architect and Principal at HKS. Sheila is committed to health care environments that focus on patient safety and operational efficiency, and is a member of the FGI Health Guidelines Revision Committee. She is a founding member of the CitizenHKS Steering Committee, and after Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines in 2013, she traveled there to develop solutions for safe drinking water and healthcare access.