Architectural Firms, Schools Use Laboratories to Make Medical Supplies

As the coronavirus pandemic grips the world, hospitals are facing critical shortages of personal protective equipment like face masks, gloves and face shields. Many healthcare workers are resorting to dangerous measures, like re-using masks, or substituting PPE with scarfs, bandanas and more. Now, architectural schools are lending their high-tech equipment to help healthcare officials battle the virus on the front lines.

At Columbia University, librarians wanted to make use of their 3D printers. They recruited the help from experts at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation to help them design face shields for medical professionals. Shields have since been delivered by the thousands to hospitals in the Northeast. The library has also created a working guide to help others make face shields using their own 3D printers. The critical supply needs just a few ingredients: filament, elastic, tape, glue, mylar and disinfectant to wipe down the final product.

At Princeton, their School of Architecture’s digital fabrication lab is being used to help produce ventilators, masks, face harnesses and shields, protective wear, testing materials and more. reports that BIG, KPF and Handel architects are making face shields for hospital workers. They’re basing their models off of a recipe cooked up from 3DVerkstan which is available to anyone with the materials and 3D printing capacity.