How a One million square foot convention center was transformed into a hospital in Nine days

How a One million square foot convention center was transformed into a hospital in Nine days
  • East London's ExCeL exhibition centre, which normally plays host to lifestyle shows, expos and conferences, has been converted into the temporary NHS Nightingale hospital, with space for 4,000 beds.
  • 160 plus contractors and 200 army engineers working up to 15 hours shift created a hospital for 4000 patients in Nine days.


The temporary hospital has the capability to treat up to 4,000 patients. Credit: PA

The NHS Nightingale Hospital  built to boost capacity during the coronavirus pandemic has admitted its first patients. The first admissions were taken in on Tuesday evening, just two weeks after the temporary hospital in London's ExCel center was formally announced.




NHS Nightingale Hospital London, an emergency medical facility dedicated to treating patients infected with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), opened late last week.

The facility was built by the collaborative effort of the National Health Service (NHS), the British Armed Forces, the Royal Engineers, the facilities management team at ExCeL London, private contractors, and international architecture firm BDP.


Source BBC

How was this architectural mammoth completed in weeks?

 The 1-million-square-foot convention center in the docklands of East London has been transformed in just over a week into the largest critical care unit in the world, according to CNBC.

BDP project leads Paul Johnson, architect director, and James Hepburn, engineering principal, the brains behind the project said it was  “a monumental team effort which has been intense and exhausting.”


The makeshift facility has room for 4,000- to-5,000 ventilator-equipped beds spread out between 78 different wards, each named after a famed British healthcare figure, as well as two morgues.

 The hospital is currently operating with 500 beds and will expand as needed.

“It’s nothing short of extraordinary that this new hospital in London has been established from scratch in less than a fortnight, said Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, in a press statement. “The NHS, working with the military, has done in a matter of days what usually takes years.”

Prince Charles, who is currently in Scotland recovering after he tested positive for COVID -19 at the end of March, opened the NHS Nightingale London via Skype on April 3. He noted: “In this dark time, this place will be a shining light.

Military Personnel and Cabin crew members join the workforce

Military personnel have been enlisted by the NHS to join civilian first responders in ferrying patients via ambulance to the hospitals. Furloughed cabin crew members with airlines easyJet and Virgin Atlantic—many of them first aid-trained and security-cleared—have also been summoned by their employers to change beds and perform non-clinical support tasks at NHS Nightingale London and other NHS field hospitals.

Plans are underway to extend the makeshift mega-hospital to several NHS field hospitals spread out across England with others soon to open in Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, and Harrogate, Yorkshire.

There have been 55,242 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United Kingdom and 6159  known deaths.