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.
A major contribution to healthcare design both for the clear documentation of a critical period in the architectural evolution of our field and for pointing to questions regarding the balance of patients needs, efficiency, and building topologies that we continue to wrestle with today. Anyone working in the planning and design of hospitals, particularly younger professionals who may be engaged in this field for the first time, will find value in its publication.
In her meticulously researched history of modern American hospitals, Kisacky examines the frequently elusive purposes and consequences of architectural design. Forged at the confluence of shifting medical requirements and broader cultural, civic, and economic values, her hospitals mirror in form and function the collective understanding of human well-being.
. . . a major addition to the small but growing literature on the history of modern hospital design. In arguing that the modernity of architecture cannot be understood in terms of its appearance alone, Rise of the Modern Hospital convincingly makes the case for more inclusive and nuanced kinds of architectural history.
. . . masterful survey of American hospital design. . . . Kisacky provides an architectural history that draws upon and contributes to the history of medicine in a way few other studies of the built environment of health care have done.
This is a book which should be in the library of anyone concerned with the built environment as well as the history of medical care. . . . The author (and her publisher) are to be congratulated on the book's constructive and generous use of visual materials, photographs, plans, and architectural renderings. It is, in short, an admirable contribution to interdisciplinary scholarship.
A very welcome addition to the history of the natural sciences in the American West. Written with verve and in meticulous detail, Vetter's book covers considerable new ground and is both highly ambitious and strategic.
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.learn more