Alumnus Tye Farrow Designs Temporary ICU units that help patients and workers feel more resilient

“They went from a conversation on a Thursday morning to blueprints on Monday and a full-scale prototype built five days later. U of T alumnus Tye Farrow (BArc 1987) and U of T friend Ray Arbesman moved fast to design temporary intensive care units in a unique contribution to the global pandemic response.

The project, which includes a novel kind of building material as well as architectural designs, could soon be helping hospitals around the world.

Farrow’s design for the ICU structures is based on an innovative, never-before used building technique: wood blocks laminated with metal instead of glue. Arbesman initially invented the fail-safe, velcro-like technology to build safer car brake pads, but the two began collaborating on possible construction uses about five years ago.

The resulting blocks are as strong as concrete—but lighter, and as easy to assemble as Lego. Even unskilled volunteers could build one of the 12-bed units on a parking lot or vacant lot in a few hours, says Farrow.”