Rise of the Modern Hospital

An Architectural History of Health and Healing, 1870-1940

This is a monumental work on hospitals in the United States from the 1870s to World War II, an influential period that saw the end of the pavilion plan and the advent of the high-rise hospital. As the first book-length study to address the architectural implications of the germ theory, it is destined to become a classic in the history of hospitals.
Annmarie Adams, author of Medicine by Design: The Architect and the Modern Hospital, 1893-1943
Winner of the 2017 Fred B. Kniffen Award

Rise of the Modern Hospital is a focused examination of hospital design in the United States from the 1870s through the 1940s. This understudied period witnessed profound changes in hospitals as they shifted from last charitable resorts for the sick poor to premier locations of cutting-edge medical treatment for all classes, and from low-rise decentralized facilities to high-rise centralized structures. Jeanne Kisacky reveals the changing role of the hospital within the city, the competing claims of doctors and architects for expertise in hospital design, and the influence of new medical theories and practices on established traditions. She traces the dilemma designers faced between creating an environment that could function as a therapy in and of itself and an environment that was essentially a tool for the facilitation of increasingly technologically assisted medical procedures. Heavily illustrated with floor plans, drawings, and photographs, this book considers the hospital building as both a cultural artifact, revelatory of external medical and social change, and a cultural determinant, actively shaping what could and did take place within hospitals.

about the author

Jeanne Kisacky

Jeanne Kisacky is an independent scholar. She has taught classes on the topic of health and architecture as an adjunct instructor at Cornell University, Binghamton University, and Syracuse University.

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Jeanne Kisacky