Scholars tell two stories about the history of modern hospital architecture. The first of these, indebted to Michel Foucault, puts the emergence of the building type at the end of the eighteenth century in France. In this story, the hospital evolved in response to the same external factors that shaped the emergence of schools, barracks, and prisons. Although the hospital promoted new medical practices, patterns of governance drove its architecture, not medical activities. In contrast, the second story focuses on the rapid transformation of the hospital's mission from “care to cure” at the end of the nineteenth century, with the advent of trained nurses, aseptic surgery, bacteriology, new technologies such as X-ray imaging, and modern business accounting methods. According to this narrative, it was the ascendancy of medical practice as a central institution of the modern social order that changed hospital architecture.

In Rise of the Modern Hospital, Jeanne...

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