Designer shares experience in building SARS hospital
Updated 18:07, 02-Feb-2020
By Wu Guoxiu

Seventeen years ago, Beijing built Xiaotangshan Hospital in a week. It had 1,000 beds and treated about a seventh of all SARS patients in China, with no medical staff infected. Dr. Huang Xiqiu was the designer. When Wuhan decided to build a similar one a week ago, they asked Dr. Huang for Xiaotangshan's original design. He and his team amended the drawings and gave advice on how to construct the new hospital. 

"Seventeen years ago, when we designed the Xiaotangshan it was very urgent. The building distance was only 12 meters, we prefer to increase the distance to guarantee biosafety," said Dr. Huang.

After the SARS outbreak, Dr. Huang designed infectious disease facilities for many hospitals in China. He was also the chief editor of a national standard for infectious disease hospital designs. He said the key to building an emergency hospital in a short period of time is that there has to be a model.

"Instead of building on the field, we use prefabricated panel, we assemble on site, it's very importance. Only the foundation, we built on site."

For him, many ideas he didn't have time to implement 17 years ago, can be realized now.

"Sewage system is also very important for infectious disease hospital. In Xiaotangshan that was no time to build a concrete pan for collecting the material and make treatment, so we used the original swimming pool. From the very beginning, we reminded them to take care of the system," the architect said.

Dr. Huang also advised burning solid medical waste far away from the hospital, as the disposal method used at Xiaotangshan Hospital gave off a strong smell, affecting nearby residents.

Dr. Huang and his team are also giving technical support to similar hospitals built in other parts of the country. He said with new materials and techniques, the new hospitals can play a better role in treating the new epidemic than the one he designed 17 years ago for SARS.