Public squares in Italy play a critical role in Italian culture and day-to-day life, but they may soon play a major part in rolling out COVID-19 vaccinations. Circular temporary structures have been designed by architect Stefano Boeri and his Milan-based firm, in collaboration with a team of consultants, that will pop up across Italy as vaccinations get underway in the new year.
With the understanding that the units will need to be mobile, Boeri, his firm (Stefano Boeri Architetti), and Stefano Boeri Interiors created a design featuring a circular building that is self-sufficient and can be easily deconstructed and moved as needed. The firm’s proposal, which has been accepted by Italy’s health officials and is now in its final stages, also includes “information totems” and the slogan: “With a flower, Italy is reborn.”
A central core of the design will offer a private area for healthcare workers including toilets and spaces for changing and storage. Radiating from the core will be a series of partitions that will accommodate those waiting for their vaccine and those receiving their vaccine. The entire pavilions will be built on a prefabricated wooden base with textile covering clad in a series of recyclable and biodegradable water-resistant materials. Solar panels will mean each unit is able to create its own electricity to operate. The facilities will be easily constructed and deconstructed so that they can be moved around as needed, hitting piazzas all over Italy.
The pavilions are as elegant as they are practical, yet futuristic in juxtaposition with the historic architecture of some of Italy’s oldest cities. On top of each pavilion, a vibrant Primrose can be found, a symbol of rejuvenation – it is, of course, among the first flowers that blossom after a long winter – and a thread linking the pavilions with the campaign slogan.
“With the image of a springtime flower, we wanted to create an architecture that would convey a symbol of serenity and regeneration,” said Boeri of his design. “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”
Having just overtaken the UK for the most COVID-19-related deaths, Italy was the first Western country to come to grips with the pandemic nearly a year ago and has been heavily hit. Domenico Arcuri, Rome’s special commissioner for the pandemic emergency, has said that by September next year, a significant number of those who want to have the vaccine will have had the chance to do so.
According to Arcuri, vaccinations will be dispersed across Italy starting in mid-January with medical staff and the elderly being prioritised. Initially, vaccinations will be administered at around 300 locations, but that number will rise to around 1,500 at the peak of offering vaccinations. As for Boeri’s buildings, “we may be able to build a few gazebos at the start of the campaign,” Arcuri told Reuters, “but these structures are for when all Italians will start getting vaccinated.”