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Knoblauch lectures on the American Hospital at Midcentury

Joy Knoblauch, Assistant Professor of Architecture, delivered a lecture on Monday, March 17 to the Science, Technology, and Society Program.

The talk, Movement of the Machine: The American Hospital at Midcentury, focused on the 1934 prediction of historian and urbanist Lewis Mumford that a "simplification of the externals" of machine-dominated environments would be necessary to prevent fatigue resulting from contact with increasingly complex mechanisms.

As architects were called on to 'humanize' the hospital's space—to communicate their attention to the human element within—designers began to balance this streamlined appearance with one of "programmatic transparency."

Doctors, patients, bureaucrats, and the public were the audience for an enriched language of diagrams, corridor designs, and façades intended to communicate attentiveness yet preserve the smooth interface that packaged the modern hospital’s complex internal workings.

Mar 24, 2014


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