This is the kind of stuff I love. I knew I had seen these photos in the past couple of years and now I am thrilled that I have come across a brief write-up which outlines the evolution of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute‘s RX Box (a.k.a – ‘Doc-in-a-Box’). Apparently, back in 2004 Laurie Garrett at the Council on Foreign Relations came up with the conceptual framework for building medical facilities in unused shipping containers. Architecture students from RPI took the idea and ran with it and here is a video of their product which debuted in 2006:
I would love to get the specs for what they did and find out a little bit more about the pro’s and con’s of taking on such a project. From what I can see it has the bare essentials but there is no insulation evident on the interior as well as no cooling unit. Unless properly cooled these boxes turn into ovens. (I remember seeing a beautifully constructed concrete and corrugated tin roof medical facility that was built by an aid organization in the southern Eritrean dessert back in 1994 that must have had an internal temperature of over 120F given that the outside temperature was about 105F. Needless to say it was uninhabitable and totally useless. A perfectly good waste of resources.)
There are a number of other issues which I think need addressing. I will send these photos to a field friend on the medical side and see what suggestions he has. I’ll also see if RPI has a full report available along with architectural drawings. Here is the two page PDF outlining the Doc-in-a-Box concept from the Council on Foreign Relations and for more pics click here.