A windowless patient room was a shocking proposal in the 1940s, according to an article on the Smithsonian website. It went against the prevailing opinion of what a healthcare facility should be.
Hospital designers previously had based their layouts on the idea that hospital spaces required direct access to sunlight and fresh air.
This rule was the product of a centuries-old belief that disease could be spread by dark, stagnant spaces. Before the 20th century, every room within a hospital typically had access to the outdoors. Corridors and linen closets had windows.
But the population of hospitals changed in the first decades of the 20th century. They were no longer retreats for the wealthy. People of all classes could get cutting-edge treatment. These changes shed light on the limitations of the earlier “therapeutic” hospital design.
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