The Sanatorium: Muse to Modernists

Before antibiotics became widespread in the 1950s, the go-to treatment for tuberculosis was a healthy dose of isolation, fresh air and sunshine.  

This protocol gave way to purpose-built sanatoria designed to minimize the spread of germs. Their design hallmarks, like flat roofs and terraces designed to maximize outdoor space, became an unlikely muse for emerging Modernist architects.

Much like sanatoria, Modernist architecture “intended to cure the perceived physical, nervous, and moral ailments brought on by crowded cities,” writes Elizabeth Yuko. This history of healing disrupts the narrative that Modernist architecture is sterile, cold and indifferent to human comfort, Yuko notes.


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