Cameron Sinclair, the architect turned humanitarian designer and WDCD regular, unveiled the “world’s first standalone intensive care unit” to help hospitals under pressure due to coronavirus.

On March 26th, the United States became the country hardest hit by coronavirus, with nearly 100,000 confirmed cases. In an effort to support the nation’s healthcare system, a team of medical professionals, architects, crisis response experts, and engineers have launched JUPE Health: a new series of affordable, shippable care units that can be rapidly deployed to areas in need.

At 1/30th the cost of a typical hospital room, JUPE’s pop-up models are highly scalable and cost-effective. Using technology inspired by the auto-industry, each standalone unit comes in an easily transportable, flat-pack box. This unique approach means 24 units can deploy on a single heavy-duty truck, and up to 500,000 can fit on a single cargo ship.

“Having worked for decades in crisis situations, it is vital to put your health facilities where the epidemic is spreading,” says Cameron Sinclair, who joined the startup as its chief humanitarian advisor. The architect and WDCD Alumnus is best known for his extensive work in community-led disaster response. “Having highly deployable recovery units gives us the best chance of fighting COVID-19 and to support our frontline medical professionals.”


There are currently three prototypes in development at JUPE’s facility in Texas. The first model, called the JUPE REST, is a rest area and sleeping unit designed to house at-risk medical professionals. It contains either one queen or two single beds, batteries in the base for short-term off-grid usage, storage, waste containers, and optional wi-fi and climate control. In price, these standard units range from $14,500 to $24,000, depending on the configuration.

The JUPE CARE unit includes the previously mentioned features, but are specifically designed to support the recovery of non-critical patients. Each space is equipped with a full bathroom and simple kitchen, and costs between $52,000-$78,000 depending on the configuration.

The last and most comprehensive recovery unit is the JUPE PLUS: a remote ICU station with a full hospital bed and additional ventilation equipment for those patients in critical care. The team is currently working closely with ICU and ER doctors on the development of this model, and more details will be released later this month. All units operate on a micro-grid but can be plugged in whenever necessary.


JUPE is led by internationally recognized health advocate and physician Dr. Esther Choo, humanitarian designer Cameron Sinclair, and modular housing innovator Jeff Wilson. Today, JUPE is seeking institutional partners for the delivery of batches of 24 units and all-star players to help build the future of humane healthcare for those who need it most.

Images by JUPE HEALTH.