American architects mobilise to make coronavirus face shields for hospital workers

Architects across America including BIG, KPF and Gensler have teamed up as part of an open-source project to manufacture face shields to protect hospital workers treating coronavirus patients.

Firms across the country are using their own 3D printers and laser cutters to make the visors, which are being delivered to hospitals for distribution to front-line medical staff amid shortages of the safety devices.

Many of the architects are basing their visors on open-source files created by Eric Ceserberg of Swedish 3D-printing company 3DVerkstan. The simple design consists of a laser-cut clear plastic shield that covers the face and a printed visor band that fits across the user’s forehead.

A standard three-hole punch is used to make holes in the plastic shield so it can clip onto the visor.

“It is brilliant in its simplicity,” said architect Eric Höweler, principal at Boston studio Höweler + Yoon, one of the firms helping to make visors.

“A simple 3D-printed PLA [polylactic acid] part plus a clear sheet with three punched holes and we get a pretty effective face shield,” he said.

Other architects printing the shields, which help protect the wearer’s face from body fluids, include Handel Architects, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Grimshaw, Terreform One, Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF), Gensler, Weiss Manfredi and Brooks + Scarpa.

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