When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Taiwanese architect and engineer Arthur Huang wanted to do something to help. As the construction industry across the world ground to a halt, putting many of his projects on hold, Huang turned his attention to solving the urgent need for medical supplies and hospital space.

Based in Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, Huang is the co-founder and CEO of Miniwiz — a company that takes different types of waste and transforms them into over 1,200 materials that can be used for construction, interiors and consumer products.

With the pandemic affecting shipments of conventional materials, Huang found an alternative that’s never in short supply. “We have been building medical parts, medical components and a medical modular ward system all out of local trash,” he says.

The result is the Modular Adaptable Convertible (MAC) ward — the world’s first hospital ward built out of recycled materials, according to Miniwiz. It was designed by the company in partnership with the Fu Jen Catholic University Hospital in Taipei, and may begin to admit patients as early as June.

The walls of the MAC ward are lined with panels made from 90% recycled aluminum, and insulation made from recycled polyester. Cupboard handles and clothes hooks are made from recycled medical waste such as PPE.

A portable version can be built from scratch in 24 hours, Huang says, allowing it to be transported to places with high medical need.

“I think that [the] pandemic forces us to become very innovative to come up with the solutions to adapt to the current situation,” he says.

One man’s mission to make treasure out of trash

Taking inspiration from ancient Rome

Huang’s interest in reusing waste has its roots in antiquity. While studying archaeology

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