Renkioi Hospital is remarkable not for any spectacular structural innovation, but for its appropriate and complete design and for the speed and efficiency with which it was planned and built.
In February 1855, at the height of the Crimean War, Brunel was commissioned to design a hospital that could be prefabricated in England and built on almost any site by a relatively unskilled workforce. He played the roles of architect, planner, structural engineer, mechanical, electrical and public health engineers and management contractor.
He achieved the almost unbelievable task of taking the project from inception to completion, including shipping, in a period of just six months. Built from flat-packed wooden modules, the hospital was set up in the Dardanelles and ready to accept 500 patients on 11 August 1885.
By the end of March 1856 it could have accommodated 2,200 patients.
Each kit came complete with a wooden trunk drain, water pump and an air pump providing 30m 3/minute flow. Windows were high under the roof eaves to allow convecting hot air to escape and prevent penetration of direct sunlight. Walls were insulted and painted white externally to reflect heat. PreRenkioi, mortality rates were 42%. Once Brunel's hospital was operational, deaths fell to 3.5%.