JUPE Health Is an 'Immediate Response to Hospital Overcrowding'

©. JUPE care unit

These flat-packed rest-and-recovery units could take the load off hospitals in a hurry.

Whenever a disaster strikes, architects and others rush to the rescue with solutions that often involve shipping containers. But they are not always the best or most appropriate solution; you are shipping a lot of air and a lot of steel that you don't need. They also may not be the most efficient approach for many of the space needs in a hospital. That's where JUPE Health comes in.

Here comes 204 Jupe units

© Here comes 204 Jupe units

As U.S. hospitals brace for the future of the coronavirus, reaching capacity is one of the most critical issues healthcare workers face. ​JUPE Health aims to be an immediate response for a workforce that needs to stay near the hospital and for the anticipated flood of sick and recovering patients. JUPE Health units are equipped with mobile bedding, technology, and amenities to support long-term containment efforts.
JUPES on a container platform

© JUPE units on a container platform

It's a flat-packed solution, a mobile platform with walls that fold out, so that 24 units can fit in the space of a single 40' shipping container, and configured for different purposes:

3 types of configurations


JUPE REST: A rest area and sleeping unit for medical professionals
JUPE CARE: An off-grid deployable recovery unit for non-critical COVID-19 patients
JUPE PLUS: A stand-alone ‘light intensive care unit’ for patients in critical care

JUPE bathroom unit

© JUPE bathroom unit

The potential for space shortages could put all of our medical professionals at great risk. The JUPE REST unit allows healthcare workers whose health remains compromised due to exposure to the coronavirus a safe space away from their families while treating patients to prevent further outbreak. The JUPE CARE unit allows non-critical patients the opportunity to recover in a space equipped with a clean toilet, sink, and showers. The JUPE​ ​PLUS unit provides a remote ICU station with a full hospital bed and additional ventilation equipment for those patients in critical care.

This makes a lot of sense. So many of the photos we see of hospitals have patients in the halls, and we hear so many stories of doctors who are afraid to go home. This is like an instant expansion of hospitals to cover slightly less critical functions.

It's designed by a team led by a doctor, Esther Choo, a modular housing expert, Jeff Wilson of Kasita, who certainly knows his modular and prefab housing, and TreeHugger regular Cameron Sinclair, who we must note has never been fond of shipping container solutions.

JUPE double unit

© JUPE double unit

“Having worked for decades in crisis situations, it is vital to put your health facilities where the epidemic is spreading. Having highly deployable recovery units gives us the best chance of fighting COVID-19 and to support our frontline medical professionals,” said Cameron Sinclair, Chief Humanitarian Advisor, JUPE Health, and TED prize winner for developing mobile health clinics and community-led disaster response.

Dr. Choo explains that it is not one size fits all. “The health system has many overlapping needs right now, and cannot function well without all the pieces in place. We’re working to plug one of the more complex gaps.”

Half a million JUPE units on a boat

© Half a million JUPE units on a boat

The Jupe unit wasn't designed for this disaster; it has been in the works for a while, designed "to provide quick and cost-effective solutions to those 100M+ persons displaced by crisis including natural disasters, refugee crises, and those experiencing homelessness." It's a flexible platform that can be adapted to many different uses, depending on what the folding wall panels are made of and what is built into the unit.

The beauty of it is that it is so flexible and adaptable, a drop-in solution that can take the load off the existing Intensive Care Units that are overloaded with the sickest patients, can drop the population density in a hospital, and give some degree of separation. It's a really clever alternative to the magic metal box.