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Corona, Halle 26, Messe Berlin

Getting Down to Business - Planning - Implementing: Corona Hospital in Berlin

The northwesternmost building of Berlin’s fairgrounds, Hall 26 on Jafféstrasse, is to be repurposed as a covid-19 hospital. The exhibition corporation has ceded this hall, which will then no longer belong to the fairgrounds, to the City of Berlin. Albrecht Broemme, former President of the THW [Technisches Hilfswerk, Eng. Agency for Technical Relief] and coordinator of the project, wants to have the clinic ready to operate with 1,000 beds for patients requiring ventilation in the next 20-25 days. “We can’t pussyfoot around here. We need to get down to business, plan and then implement”, he says.

At this time, Berlin has 1,045 intensive-care beds, some of which are occupied by patients with other grave illnesses. According to forecasts from the Robert Koch Institute, the city must anticipate that in around three weeks, the spread of the epidemic will lead to a shortage of beds in the hospitals that are already in operation.

The transformation of the exhibition space will be carried out using drywall construction. The work will be done by trade-fair building companies which, due to the cancellation of many exhibitions, have time on their hands and are happy to take on these commissions. The German army, THW and fire department will lend a hand as well.

Medical personnel for the corona hospital will not be diverted from existing hospitals or practices, for they are needed there. Rather, retired and other former health-care employees will be deployed.

The hospital will function as an overflow clinic. It will be used only when the capacity of regular hospitals has been exhausted. The covid-19 hospital is not being planned for use as a permanent institution over the following decades, but will stay open only as long as necessary. According to the Robert Koch Institute, the corona pandemic could last for the following two years.

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