Share this Collection
1 Citation in this Annotation:
Annmarie Adams on The Spaces of the Hospital
16 December, 2020
This annotation is an extract from Annmarie Adams (2015) review ‘The Spaces of the Hospital: Spatiality and Urban Change in London 1680–1820’, Journal of Architectural Education, 69:1, 130-131
Dana Arnold’s The Spaces of the Hospital: Spatiality and Urban Change in London 1680–1820 may be the shortest academic book I’ve ever read, yet it tackles one of the most complex buildings in architectural history: the hospital. In six brief, thematic chapters totaling 125 pages, Arnold explains the growth and architectural significance of London hospitals in the so-called long eighteenth century, from 1680 to 1820. British historians often use this extended time frame in order to stretch from the Glorious Revolution of 1688 to the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Like the long nineteenth century, this 140-year period makes a more natural historical period than the century determined solely by the calendar.
Most of Arnold’s case studies, Chelsea, Greenwich, Bethlem, Guy’s, the Foundling Hospital, and St. George’s, are fairly well-known city landmarks. What makes her approach particularly innovative is how she frames these familiar hospitals or sometimes pairs of buildings through a precise theoretical question, mostly inspired by theorists Michel Foucault or Henri Lefebvre.