Isolation day 23, Madrid.


Observing the pictures of the improvised Madrid IFEMA hospital just a few kilometres away makes me think about sickness, fear, lack of privacy, loneliness, tears, loosing time, relief, time and space, exhaustion, silent war, concentration, sleepless, strength, sadness, resistance, devotion, surrender, hope, gratitude…humanity.

All emotions at once.

As a healthcare architect this place seems to be far away from being an optimised space to get cured and to feel better: no natural light- loosing circadian rhythm, no privacy, no views, minimum comfort, feeling exposed, …and yet, it works. Because now it is all about getting oxygen, spending day and night connected to an oxygen bottle is highest priority.

Those images produce a great impact on us, but not negatively. It is hard to explain, it is like if the harshness of the space sets back, to be overtaken by the need to fight, and a feeling of battle, of community and hope emerges … and all this is also part of IFEMA hospital now.

Anything else looses importance? Maybe…

But how are we going to deal with the traumas from such an experience?

The impact of inhabiting such a space is a big one. We should talk about it.

And IFEMA is not only our big exhibition centre. Already in 2004 this place converted into a symbol of our city, when it was used as a big morgue and place where forensic doctors worked after the Madrid bombing attacks of march 11. Back then it was the place lots of families had to go to identify a loved person, and receive psychological support for their grief.

Now it gets an additional symbolic character, as a field-hospital, where people die, but where we also celebrate each person who manages to breathe again without additional oxygen and leaves to go back home.

It is still crazy how our lives have changed completely, just over three weeks ago.

Every single day feels like three.

And outside all got silent today: it is still snowing,

Please, keep hanging in there with us!

[Photos: El País Semanal, past sunday, march 29. By Quino Petit / Pedro Armestre; link:]