Architecture in the Family Way: Doctors, Houses, and Women, by Annmarie Adams

By Annmarie Adams

Adams argues that the various major adjustments noticeable during this interval have been due to not architects' efforts yet to the paintings of feminists and future health reformers. opposite to the commonly held trust that the house symbolized a shelter and shelter to Victorians, Adams unearths that middle-class homes have been truly thought of toxic and hazardous and explores the involvement of physicians in exposing " dangerous" structure and designing more advantageous household environments. She examines the contradictory roles of middle-class ladies as either regulators of fit homes and assets of sickness and hazard inside of their very own houses, fairly in the course of childbirth. "Architecture within the relations approach" sheds gentle on an ambiguous interval within the histories of structure, medication, and girls, revealing it to be a time of turmoil, now not of development and reform as is frequently assumed.

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As the doctors showed, tuberculosis, typhoid, and a host o f other chronic or fatal illnesses were transported on the cool, fresh breezes o f suburbia, where they ignored the fences and hedges, and per­ meated the thick brick walls o f middle-class villas. Without considering possible shortcomings in their own treatment o f disease, many doctors blamed buildings and architects for Victorian medicine’s failure to cure. The doctors’ destruction o f middle-class faith in domestic architecture as preventive medicine was a complex process consisting o f three main strategies.

Ppg=43 Copyright © McGill-Queen's University Press. All rights reserved. S. or applicable copyright law. 70 Pipes should ventilate into the open air, well above the level o f any win­ dows, according to the example set in the Sanitary Dwelling. T he dangers posed by sewer gas were as hotly debated as the broader theories o f disease transmission. Sanitarians argued about whether sewer air was actually poisonous or simply promoted other diseases. W hile some doctors attributed the spread o f diphtheria, typhoid fever, and pleuro-pneumonia to breathing sewer gas, others insisted that sewer air was actually healthier than most other environments.

S. or applicable copyright law. 39 Doctors as Architects and lay people contributed to the movement, the domestic sanitarians were, by the 1870s, a coherent and highly visible group whose common goals were defined in terms o f a primarily medical discourse. This was largely because o f the prominent position o f the doctors in defining the group’s perspective on the environment. Since sanitation was based on the notion o f health as a public concern, nineteenth-cen­ tury sanitary reform demanded the expansion o f traditional conceptions o f disease from the scale o f the individual to that o f the community.

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