The Architecture of Health: Hospital Design and the Construction of Dignity
Michael P. Murphy, Jeffrey Mansfield, Daniel A. Barber
Cooper Hewitt, 2021
A story about the design and life of hospitals―how they are born and evolve, the forces that shape them and the shifts that conspire to incapacitate them―from Michael Murphy of MASS Design
Reading architecture through the history of hospitals offers a tool for unlocking the elemental principles of architecture and the intractable laws of human and social conditions that architecture serves in each of our lives. This book encounters brilliant and visionary designers who were hospital architects but also systems designers, driven by the aim of social change. They faced the contradictions of health care in their time and found innovative ways to solve for specific medical dilemmas. Designers and professionals such as Filarete, Lluís Domènech i Montaner, Albert Schweitzer, Gordon Friesen, E. Todd Wheeler and Eberhard Zeidler are studied here, while the medical spaces of more widely known architects such as Isambard Brunel, Aalvar Aalto, Le Corbusier, Louis Kahn and Paul Rudolph also help inform this history. All these characters were polymaths and provocateurs, but none quite summarizes this history more succinctly than Florence Nightingale, who, in laying out her guidelines for ward design in 1859, shows how the design of a medical facility can influence an entire political and social order.
The Architecture of Health charts historical epidemics alongside modern and contemporary architectural transformations in service of medicine, health and habitation, exploring how infrastructure facilitates healing and architecture’s greater role in constructing our societies.