Delhi Mohalla clinics made of upcycled shipping containers promise impact, sustainability

These clinics, set to serve lakhs of people in smaller neighbourhoods, are designed by the firm Architecture Discipline as any other fully-equipped healthcare facility

Sustainability and environmental care have now become part of many governments’ and hospitals’ agendas. Arguably, the need of the hour is to conserve and enhance our resource base, besides developing and using technologies that can help build a cleaner and greener future. In light of this pressing need, design firm Architecture Discipline’s new project that builds Mohalla clinics with upcycled shipping containers, set up with support from Tata Power-DDL for the Delhi government’s Aam Aadmi Mohalla Clinics programme, takes cognisance of the issue.

The sheets salvaged from various container yards in Delhi and Haryana are joined together to form a single clinic that includes an examination room, a reception and waiting area, a pharmacy accessible from the outside, and a washroom. The clinic is fully equipped to support routine health checks, testing, and medicine purchasing.

In dense Delhi neighbourhoods with tight residential clusters, a design of this quality is effective and amply useful. In fact, it is argued that pre-fab structures have shorter construction time, which is significantly less than half of the time taken by conventional cast-in-situ constructions, and are effective in reducing construction waste. These structures are especially useful for large-scale projects, and can be moved around with ease. “The clinic’s design capitalizes on the structural strength of a discarded shipping container, and works with it as a module, reducing the need for costly modifications or custom-built additions. In this manner, it redefines post-industrial waste as a medium for universal affordable healthcare,” says Akshat Bhatt, principal architect at Architecture Discipline.

These clinics, set to serve lakhs of people in smaller neighbourhoods, are designed as any other fully-equipped healthcare facility. The interiors are pre-installed with electrical fixtures, air conditioning, insulated walls and furniture. Anti-microbial vinyl flooring and medical-grade stainless steel countertops are designed for easy maintenance. Bhatt adds, “These are primary healthcare units and can be deployed with relative ease anywhere in the country or in the world. All you’d need is a motorable road, or, if we get ambitious, a clearing where a helicopter can place one such container.”

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