1 THE BODY IN MODERN ARCHITECTURE: PERCEPTIONS, PHILOSOPHIES, AND DESIGN CONSEQUENCES IN THE WORK OF LE CORBUSIER AND ALVAR AALTO by Isabelle Ghabash A Senior Honors Thesis Submitted to the Faculty of The University of Utah In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Honors Degree in Bachelor of Science In Architectural Studies Approved: Ole Fischer Supervisor Prescott Muir Chair, Department of Architecture Mimi Locher Department Honors Advisor Dr. Sylvia D. Torti Dean, Honors College May 2014
2 ABSTRACT This thesis explores the place of the human body in architectural design during the modern period. A brief history of using the human body as design inspiration is given, which includes a discussion on our tendencies as humans to use anthropomorphism, cognitive patterns, and our body to understand the world around us. Key features of modern architecture are identified, and its perceived failures are introduced. This is followed by an analysis of two 20 th century schools of psychological thought and their impact on body perception and architectural theory. The first was the prevailing Gestalt theory that showed humans favored rational patterns and simple geometry (i.e. the machine aesthetic), the basis for the strain of modern architecture called technorationalism, historically embodied by Le Corbusier. The second was the emerging phenomenological view, which showed that the rational and irrational thought processes of people could not be separated. This resulted in the organic functionalism of Alvar Aalto s work. This analysis shows the context in which modern architects thought about the human body, and explains how Le Corbusier might come to see the human body differently than his contemporary Aalto. Hospital buildings from both architects are then explored as a case study. The hospitals are compared to see how each architect s sensitivity to the human body and more specifically, a sick body influenced their respective concepts and how these concepts then play out in plan, section, and elevation. This case study serves to illustrate a fine distinction between these two modern masters: Le Corbusier used the human body only as initial inspiration, while Aalto constantly referred back to the body to orient his designs.
3 TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT ii INTRODUCTION 1 MODERNISM: AN INTERSECTION 3 PSYCHOLOGY AND BODILY PERCEPTION 7 THE BODY IN THE WORK OF LE CORBUSIER 12 THE BODY IN THE WORK OF ALVAR AALTO 17 CASE STUDY: PAIMIO SANATORIUM AND VENICE HOSPITAL 24 Overview: Alvar Aalto s Paimio Sanatorium 26 Overview: Le Corbusier s Venice Hospital 27 In Section: The Horizontal Body 29 Light, Color, and Sound for the Horizontal Body 36 Nature as Cure 40 CONCLUSION 41 IMAGE SOURCES 47 WORKS CITED 50
5 1 INTRODUCTION For centuries, architects (long before there was even such a title) have been using the human body as a model. This may have come about unintentionally as limbs are a readily available unit of measurement, but the architecture-body correlation was well-established as early as the 1 st century B.C.E. De Architectura, (published as Ten Books on Architecture after its rediscovery in the Renaissance), was written by Roman architect Vitruvius around 15 B.C.E. and is one of the most influential texts in Western architecture. Vitruvius saw a direct parallel between limbs and building elements: Thus in the human body there is a kind of symmetrical harmony between forearm, foot, palm, finger, and other small parts, and so it is with perfect buildings Since nature has designed the human body so that its members are duly proportioned to the frame as a whole, it appears that the ancients had good reason for their rule that in perfect buildings the different members must be in exact symmetrical relations to the whole general scheme. (Pollio 14) While designing with the human body in mind may have been a deliberate act of anthropomorphism--humans have, after all, ascribed human characteristics and relationships to inanimate objects, complex phenomena, and abstract ideas since the beginning of our history pareidolia may also come into play. Pareidolia is the evolutionary, unconscious, and instantaneous tendency to see patterns in random stimuli. The human brain is hard-wired to find animals in the clouds, a man in the moon, and the Virgin Mary in grilled cheeses, and a study conducted in 2010 shows that pareidolia extends to architecture. Images of facial expressions associated with certain emotions
6 2 were analyzed and generalized by a computer program. The computer then selected images of house fronts with architectural details that matched these generalizations. Test subjects were either shown all facial images or a mixture of facial images and house facades; they were able to determine the emotions represented in both sets (Chalup). We actually see faces in architecture. Since we have tendencies to ascribe human characteristics to unexplainable things and to see human faces where there are none, it is likely we have a similar tendency with respect to the human body. This tendency would be especially strong when an individual relates to architecture. We as humans don t see ourselves the way we actually are, but in relation to other things. Kent Bloomer and Charles Moore, both professors of Architecture at Yale, argue that humans perceive their environment through their physical, scalar relationship with it and then unconsciously and automatically orient themselves, defining their body-image. In other words, random, intersensory stimuli are immediately turned into some perception of our body. This explains why we feel, on a psychological level, small amid the towering structures and bustle in Manhattan or giant when we revisit our elementary school to find we no longer fit in our old desk. Bloomer and Moore argue that when humans are unable to define their body-image which can result from too little, too much, or conflicting stimuli we become disoriented and feel alienated in our built environment. Many critics argue that the modern movement, which I will loosely define as the period between 1900 and , produced buildings that had that effect that the average 1 The official time of death of modern architecture is often dramatically given as 3:32 p.m. July 15 th 1972, when the first dynamite charges were set off to level the failed Pruitt-Igoe housing complex in St. Louis. The complex was promised to be both the epitome of modern architecture as socially-responsible public housing, but it soon became a hotbed of crime and was shortly demolished (Roth 560).
7 3 person subconsciously felt disoriented and dissatisfied in buildings and cities that were out of scale and purely functional. Critics claim modern architects reduced buildings to cold machines by eliminating the human body from design. Two modern masters, however, show this is not the case. Architects Le Corbusier and Alvar Aalto have time and time again been pitted against each other, each the leading figure in what are traditionally considered two opposing strains of modernism. Le Corbusier is seen as a producer and proponent of inhumane architecture, while Aalto s work is always human. The work of Le Corbusier shows us, however, that the human body was present in both strains. MODERNISM: AN INTERSECTION The role of the body as a design principle in the modern period can best be understood by investigating the intellectual and societal influences on architects of the age. Modern architects found themselves at an exhilarating intersection, and no one could ever claim they were afraid to cross the street. Since the beginning of time, man has debated about how best to improve his position, his health, his moral character, but modernists believed that humanity had evolved and finally acquired the tools and knowledge to actually do so. The romantic and religious ideals of the last century had been outgrown, replaced by rational, enlightened progress. Newly-invented steel and concrete allowed for buildings to be taller and stronger, and the proposed cities of glass would make it appear as though the Earth clad itself in jewelry of brilliants and enamel Then we should have a paradise on Earth and would not need to gaze longingly at the paradise in the sky ( Glass Architecture 32). There were even new types of
8 4 buildings to consider: train stations, factories, and enormous meeting places for world exhibitions. Technology and rationality could save the masses and it was the architect s job to bring it to them. Architects could no longer be artists; they had to be engineers. Le Corbusier applauds contemporary engineers, saying their work approaches art, in his famous book Toward an Architecture. Anonymous engineers, greasy mechanics in workshops and forges have conceived and built those formidable things that are ocean liners. The rest of us landsmen, we lack the means of appreciation, and it would be a good thing if [we appreciated the work]. Architects live within the narrow confines of what they have learned in school, in ignorance of new rules of building, and they readily let their conceptions stop at kissing doves. But the builders of the liners, bold and masterful, realize palaces beside which cathedrals are tiny things, and they cast them onto the waters! ( ) Figure 1. Le Corbusier's superimposes architectural icons onto the liner Aquitania, launched in 1913, to show scale. When speaking of the modern movement today, this strain of modernism, oftentimes referred to as Corbusian modernism, is usually what is meant. This strain is also sometimes called techno-rationalism, which is the term that will be used hereafter because it will soon be seen that Le Corbusier cannot be simply lumped in with the other
9 5 practitioners (and their failures with respect to the human body) associated with this strain. Clean lines, rectilinear forms, geometric volumes, unornamented surfaces, open plans (or sparse plans based on the Cartesian grid), and expressed structural systems are some of the architectural features of this strain. Repetition of standardized units is another characteristic. Historical precedents and typological clues were rejected; a library by a techno-rationalist would not look like any other library that been built in the past. There was also a rejection of place; a skyscraper of glass and concrete could, according to the true techno-rationalist designer, conceivably be placed in any city. Figure 2: Examples of techno-rationalist architecture. Left to right: Fagus Factory, Walter Gropius Citrohan House, Le Corbusier, Seagram Building, Mies van der Rohe, Another strain of modernism called organic-functionalism has recently been recognized, with Alvar Aalto as the leading figure in this group. For the organic functionalists, a building s design must emerge first from the specifics of program and site (Williams 15). Their buildings belonged only in one place and were not intended to be transposed globally. Because designs are generally location-specific, there is great variety in lighting qualities, material choices, and landscaping project to project. Organicfunctionalists started with the human activities that would go on in a space, while technorationalists oftentimes began with designing an object, then figuring out a way the necessary human activities would fit inside. Organic-functionalist buildings did not directly reference historical buildings, but instead of throwing these references out as the
10 6 techno-rationalists did, these designers took gestures from many different buildings from different types and places, creating an unorthodox architectural mishmash. They were also less concerned with geometrical relationships, abstractions, standardization, and structural honesty than their techno-rationalist counterparts. Figure 3: Examples of organic-functionalist architecture. Left to right: Robie House, Frank Lloyd Wright, Villa Mairea, Alvar Aalto, Phillips Exeter Library (interior), Louis Kahn, Both strains believed in the essential tenets of modernism. More than any aesthetic, the movement was a spirit. Both Le Corbusier and Alvar Aalto would have agreed that the architectural form must be radically reevaluated in light of conditions of modernity; that a new architecture must be devised that is appropriate to the conditions of modern life: that this new architecture must express the conundrums and ameliorate the ills visited on humanity by modernity; and that it must accommodate not just the powerful but also the less powerful or even the disempowered. This new architecture must create more than just monuments; it must create architectural spaces in the service of an ordinary life well lived. (Williams 33) Architects from both the techno-rationalist and organic-functionalist schools recognized they were practicing in a period of history unlike any other, and that the solutions of the past could not keep pace with the rapid urban population growth, societal restructuring, and technological advances that were happening in the first half of the twentieth century.
11 7 Perhaps for the first time in architectural history, there was widespread acknowledgement that architecture served a social purpose and that ordinary people, not just the elite, deserved the attention of architects. This required architects to have an understanding of how ordinary people thought, behaved, and experienced architecture. PSYCHOLOGY AND BODY PERCEPTION To truly understand the two strains of modernism, one must first examine the two prevailing schools of psychology in the twentieth-century. The first, called Gestalt theory, was more widely accepted at the time (less so today) and is closely related to the technorationalist aesthetic. The second was the emerging phenomenological view that shaped organic-functionalism. The impact these psychological theories had on architecture, and how architects viewed the human body and believed beauty was achieved, cannot be underestimated. In 1910, findings from the Berlin school of Gestalt ( form ) psychology demonstrated, by experiment, the effects of what psychologists termed closure, but we today would recognize as an early understanding of pareidolia. they were able to recognize certain consistent patterns in the way the majority of healthy adults recognized data during the act of perception. Events in the visual field of perception, for example, were simplified by a phenomenon they called closure (a tendency to reduce a complicated pattern to a more recognizable and simpler pattern). Remarkable in these observations was the revelation that individuals also tend to simplify patterns toward horizontal and vertical rather than skew organizations;
12 8 toward symmetry rather than asymmetry; and toward basic geometric groups rather than random or less precise ones. For example, a square was shown to be the most memorable and neutral form because of its orientation and regularity. (Bloomer 31-32) For centuries, artists had been searching for the golden mean, the essence of beauty, some sort of explanation for why certain elements arranged in a certain way looked right somehow, but techno-rationalists had arrived at it scientifically. They had derived a universal, objective formula for beauty. And this formula called for rectilinear forms, mathematical relationships, and unadorned surfaces. The human mind was rational, simplifying all stimuli into basic geometry and recognizable patterns. Building upon Descartes seventeenth-century rationalism, techno-rationalists believed meaning and truth were to be deduced, not felt; the body, its senses, and emotions were inferior to measurement. Bodily stimulus and enjoyment took a backseat to visual order, mathematical logic, and pure function. Any sensation felt by the body was not reliable as it was information clouded by emotion and memory. The organic-functionalists, taking a more phenomenological view, believed that emotion and memory could not be filtered out of information received by the brain, and that this clouded information was nonetheless valid. Phenomenology posits that reality consists of objects and events as they are perceived or understood in human consciousness and not of anything independent of human consciousness ( Phenomenology ). Reality is what we sense, and we cannot reinterpret or sift through what we perceive in order to achieve knowledge acceptable to rationalists.
13 9 By the early twentieth century, a number of prominent psychologists and aestheticians held that human cognition and reason is fundamentally embodied, fundamentally intersensory, and fundamentally creative; that emotion, memory, and imagination are integral to human reason; and that the commonly accepted gulf dividing subject from object does not exist. (Williams 19) The body exists in this gulf between subject and object, ambiguously existing as both (Merleau-Ponty 408). We experience the world through the body, and every physical sensation is flavored by what we have previously experienced, what we are currently experiencing, and what we anticipate experiencing. This meant designers should encourage physical sensation, allow ambiguity for individualized memory recall, and draw upon archetypal metaphors. Belief in phenomenology may explain why the organic-functionalists are generally seen as more humane practitioners of architecture than techno-rationalists. They believed that we existed in our embodied reality; human beings cannot understand the world unless many senses are activated simultaneously and we are given cognitive space to make our own associations. Organicfunctionalists paid special attention to human scale (Fig. 4), textures, natural lighting, and colors because they thought the human body needed these things in order to orient itself in the world. Figure 4: Human Scale. The towers in the image on the left are not built to human scale, while the buildings on the right are much more relatable.
14 10 Techno-rationalists overshot the machine aesthetic because they believed the body was unreliable, and that only the mind understood the obviously mathematical world humans inhabited. Techno-rationalists also exhibited a certain disregard for human scale most evident in their two major urban legacies: skyscrapers and mammoth city blocks. Techno-rationalists thought that if a project showed order in plan, from a birdseye view, it should work on the ground. They forgot that human beings need sensory stimulation, but also have limits to those senses. If something is so far removed from our size or view, offering no chance for sensory interaction, we have difficulty understanding. Why are we not moved by our neighborhood shopping mall or city center office tower? Take for example, a typical curtain-wall skyscraper. Its potential for pulling us into the realm of a movement or sound game is almost nil. We can neither measure ourselves against it nor imagine a bodily participation. Our bodily response is reduced to little more than a craned head, wide eyes, and perhaps an open jaw in appreciation of some magnificent height (Bloomer 131) What is missing from our dwellings today are the potential transactions between body, imagination, and environment comfort is confused with the absence of sensation. The norm has become rooms maintained at a constant temperature without any verticality or outlook or sunshine or breeze or discernible source of heat or center or, alas, meaning. These homogenous environments require little of us (Bloomer 105)
15 11 Most criticism of the modern movement is aimed at the techno-rationalists. The unchecked scale of many buildings and urban projects, paired with a penchant for repetitious standardization and the machine aesthetic, led many critics to choose words such as alien and lifeless another way of saying not human when describing modern buildings. In the last years of the modern period, architecture critic Lewis Mumford, once himself an outspoken advocate for techno-rationalism, wrote: Does a dynamo need ornament? Does a Diesel engine need color? Our world is essentially a world fit for dynamos, diesel engines, steamships, a thing of black, gray, white, conscientiously utilitarian. Now, this is an extreme position; but it emphasizes a reality. One part of the modern feeling for form, the thing that distinguishes us from the Baroque or the Gothic, is a positive pleasure that we take in the elemental structure of an object. We do not paint pansies on our typewriters or griffons on our automobiles, nor are our office files covered with decorative plaster. To realize form-in-function, by its clear, lucid expression, is what constitutes the modern feeling but we are still human beings, not dynamos or diesel engines; and there must be something more. (13) The organic-functionalists seem to have provided this phenomenological something more Mumford wrote about. They did this by adhering to human scale and providing varied sensory experiences through texture, material, lighting, and historical references; Aalto s work was certainly never criticized as being inhumane. However, while Le Corbusier is still unquestionably the poster child for techno-rationalism, he, at least after
16 12 the 1930s, cannot be lumped in with other techno-rationalists who didn t bother with the human body at all. While he may have started out favoring the mechanical aspects of architecture over the human, his work as a whole shows an awareness of the human body. THE BODY IN THE WORK OF LE CORBUSIER Like many great architects, Le Corbusier dabbled in various artistic mediums outside of architecture, notably sculpture and painting. He often split his daily schedule between his interests: painting for half the day in his private studio, then working at his Figure 5: Arcole Simla, Oil on canvas. architecture office for the other half. The human body is an ever-present theme in his sculpture and painting. Barely abstracted versions of various body parts ears, intestines, faces, noses, hands, hearts make continual appearances in his art. As one example, shapes resembling ears, lungs, and lips can be Figure 6: Deux Figures, Oil on canvas. seen in in Le Corbusier s Arcole Simla (Fig. 5). When the full body is depicted it is usually full-figured and contorted, cramped into the canvas almost like a room that is too small. Deux Figures (Fig. 6) calls to mind a person sitting on a piece of furniture, perhaps a sofa. This is an architectural proposition in itself, but the fact that the body is bounded by the edges of the canvas implies walls and a ceiling. Additionally, the painting is rotated from its expected vertical orientation of sofa on bottom and person on top, which
17 13 could mean Le Corbusier, consciously or unconsciously, was examining the body s relationship to its architectural confines by gaining a new perspective from an unconventional angle. Panurge II (Fig. 7) features an abstract ear shape, but more interestingly a vertical element that recalls the human figure. The space between Figure 7: Panurge II, Wood. the other curved elements and the walls of the box element are a study in personal space. How a body fits into and feels in a defined space has direct architectural implications; Le Corbusier s art shows he was deeply concerned with this. Some would argue that the lessons Le Corbusier learned in these artistic pursuits never made it into his architecture or that his twisted figures and depiction of parts of the body, seemingly severed, exemplifies a cold and reckless apathy about the human whole. This may be true of his urban planning projects and some of his earlier work, but at intimate scales could not be farther from the truth. Le Corbusier was very preoccupied with the manner in which the body would respond to art and to architecture. I have a body like everyone else, and what I m interested in is contact with my body, with my eyes, my mind Nowhere in architecture is the potential of bodily contact felt more readily than in the realm of detail, designed specifically to be touched or seen at close quarters here the architectural work enters the plane of sensitivity and We are moved. (Samuel 39)
18 14 His architectural details are deeply concerned with touch and the human hand, which attains the status of fetish in the work of Le Corbusier his handprint is a mark [of] a knowledge gained through touch (44). [He] designed door handles and handrails to invite touch and support the body. My hand is received by the handle; it is mirrored by its forms, like holding Figure 8: Door at Maison des Jeunes, hands with another person. In order to open the door to the Maison des Jeunes at Firminy [Fig. 8] I press my palm against the palm of the door in a gesture of greeting and I am mirrored by the building. Here a bright shiny square plate, itself a mirror, set into the glass door has a cut-out in the shape of a hand. Beneath the cold metal at the place where my skin makes contact with the door there is a layer of the finest mortar, warm and smooth to the touch the door handle gives scale and humanity to the whole. (47-48) Corbusier s ergonomic details and tactile juxtapositions extended into the furniture he helped design. He saw furniture as an extension of the body, writing that These objects are in proportion to our limbs, are adapted to our gestures (59). He designed his famous LC4 chaise lounge (Fig. 9) to mirror the body s curves so the user could totally relax. The neck is Figure 9: LC4 Chaise Lounge designed by Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand, 1929.
19 15 supported by the headrest, then the chair folds where the human body does: at the torso and then again at the knees. Each folding point could then be adjusted to various positions for individualized comfort. The part that touched the body was also differentiated from the structure through the use of materials leather or fur juxtaposed against steel each material inviting touch and heightening the experience of the other through difference (61). A discussion of the human body s impact on Le Corbusier s design would not be complete without discussion of his famous Modulor (Fig. 10). Twentieth-century architects and fabricators lived at the advent of mass-production and prefabrication. Products could now be designed in one place, made in another, and shipped to another still; a common design language and unit of measurement was called for in this Figure 10: The Modulor, increasingly globalized world. Le Corbusier proposed the Modulor, based on human (albeit standardized human) proportions. He saw it as an evolution of Da Vinci s Vitruvian Man (Fig. 11) which harkened even farther back to early construction and archetypal proportion. One thing remains to be explained: the Parthenon, the Indian temples, and cathedrals were all built according to precise measures which constituted a code, Figure 11: Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci, a coherent system: a system which proclaimed an essential unity.
20 16 Primitive men at all times and in all places, as also the bearers of high civilizations, Egyptian, Chaldean, Greek, all these have built, and by that token, measured. What were the tools they used? They were eternal and enduring, precious because they were linked to the human person. The names of these tools were: elbow (cubit), finger (digit), thumb (inch), foot, pace, and so forth Let us say it once: they formed an integral part of the human body, and for that reason they were fit to serve as (measurement) More than that, they were infinitely rich and subtle because they formed part of the mathematics of the human body, gracious, elegant, and firm, the source of that harmony which moves us: beauty the elbow, the pace, the foot, and thumb were and still are both the prehistoric and modern tool of man. (Modulor 18-19) Le Corbusier saw the golden ratio and the Fibonacci number series, which he believed governed nature and beauty, in human proportions and in the regulating lines of the greatest architecture. If designers used the proportions prescribed by the Modulor, it would be difficult, here paraphrasing Albert Einstein s praise of the system, to create something ugly. Le Corbusier had found a formula for beauty; as a true man of his time, he tried to patent it. With the Modulor, Le Corbusier is guilty of certain techno-rationalist oversight. The Modulor is arbitrarily based on a six-foot tall man; a design using this system might, in theory, exclude certain users notably women and anyone who doesn t meet the height requirement at a certain intimate scale. Using a formula for beauty and enjoyment also means the design is generated by a system, not by user needs. And while the proportional
21 17 relationships originate in the human body, the system was meant to be scaled up or down between the tiniest architectural detail to the largest city, which means actual human scale could easily be lost. The insistence on a single, universal, discoverable formula for beauty also stems from a rationalist Gestalt worldview. However, it also evident that Le Corbusier revered the human body, claiming it possessed the same beauty that governed all of creation. THE BODY IN THE WORK OF ALVAR AALTO Interestingly, the human form is visually less present in Aalto s work than in that of Le Corbusier. Le Corbusier painted, sculpted, measured, analyzed, and abstracted the human body; there is little evidence that Aalto did the same. Aalto doesn t make overt anthropomorphic architectural gestures and only literally referenced the body in order to diagram. While the human body may not be visually evident, Aalto s writings and phenomenological approach to architecture prove it was never forgotten, and in many cases is more physically present than in Le Corbusier s work. In his essay entitled The Humanizing of Architecture, Aalto writes: Modern architecture has been rationalized mainly from the technical point of view but since architecture covers the entire field of human life, real functional architecture must be functional mainly from the human point of view (Nerdinger 13). Instead of approaching problems starting with the machine, Aalto argued rationalism should stem from human needs, activities, and comfort. He gives the following example: One of the typical activities in Modern architecture has been the construction of chairs and the adoption of new materials and new methods
22 18 for them. The tubular steel chair is surely rational from a technical and constructive point of view: It is light, suitable for mass production, and so on. But steel and chromium surfaces are not satisfactory from the human point of view. Steel is too good a conductor of heat. The chromium surface gives too bright reflections of light, and even acoustically it is not suitable for a room. The rational methods of creating this furniture style have been on the right track, but the result will only be good if rationalization is exercised in the selection of materials which are most suitable for human use. (Aalto 300) Next, Aalto guides his reader through his Viipuri Municipal Library project (Fig. 12) emphasizing that the starting point is the human body coupled with the activity that would go on in the space. The main problem connected with a library is Figure 12: Viipuri Municipal Library, interior that of the human eye. A library can be well constructed and can be functional in a technical way even without the solving of this problem, but it is not humanly and architecturally complete unless is deals satisfactorily with the main function in the building, that of reading a book. The eye is only a tiny part of the human body, but it is the most sensitive and perhaps the most important part. ( )
23 19 In both these examples, Aalto illustrates his process which is essentially rational, unromantic, and modern; he is simply solving a problem. But, unlike the technorationalists, he defines the problem fundamentally as a problem for the human body. Instead of asking what the library or chair needed to do, he first asked what the human body needed to do in a library or chair, then designed to support the answer. This approach explains why Aalto was one of the first to suggest a movie cinema with a blackened interior. He started with what the body needed in this case, to clearly see a projected image instead of relying on the typical solutions for theatres of his time or subordinating the human need to presumptuous modern constraints of plan and form. These constraints whether typological, historical, economic, constructional, or formal outside of what the human body, and by extension the mind, needed to be comfortable were, according to Aalto, secondary and often arbitrary. This attitude is evident in his attention to detail, especially in his Paimio Sanatorium. He chose paint colors that would relax the patients and provide visual variation to their monotonous stay. He directed heat at the foot of the beds, away from a patient s face, to keep them warm without overheating. The floor plans were also designed to reinforce the patient s associations of warmth, brightness, and tranquility with rooms arranged so that the patient could move easily from bed to wall-length desk. Once seated, she could look out large, plate glass windows into the surrounding forest In between the double-glazed windows, Aalto threaded a heating element to warm the glass, a material highly sensitive to variations in temperature. Ensconced at her desk, the patient could read, write, or just look, resting
24 20 her feet on the curving footrest protruding from that typically recessed moment in a room where floor meets wall. (Williams 24) Aalto s protective cradling of the human body described above presented itself, perhaps ironically, in a great deal of freedom for it. Aalto sought to provide a somewhat ambiguous environment for his users, antithetical to the techno-rationalists who often leaned toward heavy-handed, prescriptive, and dictatorial modernism. Aalto gave his users options they could be warm or cold, seated or standing, with others or alone. [Aalto] rejected any form of outside interference in people s lives and thus dismissed all universal Utopias. The concept of a unified, overall design embracing all realms of life as advocated by the Art Nouveau movement, by the German Werkbund and by the Bauhaus and related to this, the idea of the architect as an educator who provided the appropriate forms of life for the man of the future were alien to Aalto.(Nerdinger 9) Aalto didn t believe it was the architect s job to prescribe universal rules or acceptable social behavior through design (something the young Le Corbusier did). The militant calls for standardization in construction especially in the residential realm coming from the techno-rationalists alarmed Aalto as he saw this as a slippery slope that ended in the standardization of human beings, activities, and bodily experience. If the technorationalists called for standardization and universalism, organic-functionalists like Aalto preached individualism and particularism.
25 21 Aalto s provisions for the individual are evident in many of his floor plans. In his Baker Dormitory (Fig. 13) on the MIT campus the slithering snake plan meant every room had a view of the Charles River. Aalto provided an environment fitting to the robustness and independence of student life, celebrating the uniqueness of the individual Figure 13: Baker Dormitory, Top: view from Charles River. Bottom: plan showing student rooms and circulation. rather than the anonymity of the institution the undulating wall provided the opportunity for varying room configurations and thus a range of environment for the students (Trechner Guide 220). Similarly in the Paimio Sanatorium, Aalto managed to incorporate the needs of the individual by proposing diverse bedroom units and a range of opportunities for self-curing, from sitting by the open window of one s room, to gathering in the smaller terrace or going to the main roof deck, to finally exiting the building and walking throughout the grounds on a defined exercise pathway. In this way, Aalto supported the uniqueness to each individual by providing a broad range of interactions, by articulating throughout the design a complete scale of social hierarchies. (Trechner Baker House 185)
26 22 In both the Baker Dormitory and the Paimio Sanatorium, Aalto employed differentiated units to give each individual a sense of autonomy. This was likely a rebuttal to the techno-rationalist strategy of designing one singular unit that was then repeated throughout the whole of a building. This individualism is not only sought after in physical space, but in the subconscious as well. Aalto s intriguing collages of materials, volumes, and historical references provide countless opportunities for each individual user to make his or her own phenomenological associations, making their understanding and experience of the building different from anyone else s. Figure 14: Villa Mairea, interior Merely providing accommodation for certain functions, such as eating, sleeping, or living, is not an adequate response to human life. Aalto evidently wished to express the constant interplay of rational and irrational, mental and sensual, playful and concentrated human activities through an infinite wealth of impressions and by providing scope for experience in his architecture. A walk around the Villa Mairea [Fig. 20] thus evokes an endless stream of memories and images. Technology and naturalness, Finnish traditional and modern mechanized civilization, the forests of Finland and nautical metaphors are juxtaposed here in a
27 23 permanent state of dialogue or contrast [It] achieves vibrancy and tension from its contradictions and inconsistencies. (Nerdinger 18-19) These inconsistencies and the tactile quality of Aalto s work create comfortable, yet unpredictable environments that require bodily, multi-sensory participation from the user. Aalto s spaces could be called messy and confused, but they are enjoyable because of this and appear humane and refreshing when compared to the sterility of many technorationalist works. It is important however, to realize that Aalto s appeal to individualism comes with its own pitfalls. While techno-rationalists overestimated their ability to understand the Everyman, Aalto may have overestimated his ability to understand everyone. To justify the difference in apartment plans, one could, of course, appeal to Aalto s emphasis on individuality against the ideology of the Normalmensch, as preached by the heroic [techno-rationalists]. However, unless the architect can determine the specific wishes of each future inhabitant and match them with the appropriately tailored apartment, there is no guarantee of a functional gain from the variations. Still the variation in the apartment plans can symbolize Aalto s respect for the individual, just as for the inhabitants, the absence of a uniform appearance may support a sense of individuality without actually corresponding functionally to individual needs. (Kuhlmann 40) In other words, Aalto s individualized floor plans cannot possibly be tailored to the individual user because the architect had no way of knowing the needs of every present and future user. As a modernist, he may also be guilty of assigning architecture too much
28 24 power. Aalto assumed a sense of individuality is something that architecture could provide, as opposed to something inherent in a person or something that a person would assert on their own. Despite these pitfalls, there is little argument from the architectural community that Alvar Aalto provided a human touch to the overt rationalism that pervaded twentiethcentury architecture. However, Le Corbusier s paintings, sculptures, and architectural details show he did not overlook the human body as many other techno-rationalists did. In fact, his work with the exception of his very earliest projects and perhaps the Modulor, displays a strong phenomenological streak, especially if the work is produced at intimate scales (i.e. details, furniture, and rooms). Both Aalto and Le Corbusier understood that our comprehension (and enjoyment) of the built environment springs from a multisensory, bodily experience, and not purely from a visual logic based on mathematics. However, an important distinction between the two architects must be made. The human body for Aalto was the constantly-revisited origin of design, while for Le Corbusier, despite what he said to the contrary, the body was only the initial inspiration. This may seem like a minute distinction, but the following case-study shows it has large implications. CASE STUDY: PAIMIO SANATORIUM AND VENICE HOSPITAL In 1960, noted architecture critic Lewis Mumford, after the fervor of the modern movement had died down, reproached Le Corbusier for what Mumford now saw as cold, over-zealous standardization: he would amputate the human leg or stretch the soul to fit the form he has arbitrarily provided for it (Mumford 160). While this is may or may not
29 25 have been true for Le Corbusier s earlier work, the architect, now in his late seventies, was once again pushing the boundaries of what architecture could be and a new sensitivity was emerging. Only four years after Mumford s essay, Le Corbusier and his atelier designed a hospital on the edge of Venice that, although never built, offers evidence to refute Mumford. In this hospital, surgeons are the only ones amputating bodies; Le Corbusier accommodates them. In fact, the attention to the human body that Le Corbusier shows on the scale of the patient room is on par with Alvar Aalto s Paimio Sanatorium, a widely acclaimed hospital that serves, even today, as an architectural precedent in patient comfort. It is unsurprising that two of the most human works of Le Corubsier and Aalto are hospitals. There is perhaps no other typology as concerned with the human body because there is no other typology that deals so closely with a sick one. A sick body, because of its weakened state, requires special attention from both doctors and designers; Le Corbusier and Aalto would, as modernists, agree that a person s environment contributes to their well-being. Aalto referred to the Sanatorium as a medical instrument (Pallasmaa 74n37). Perhaps more scientifically (and never one to forsake efficiency), Le Corbusier wrote in his Rapport Technique : For the patient, a more comfortable hospitalization represents, in fact, a more effective cure which is always more economical (42). An analysis of Aalto s Paimio Sanatorium and Le Corbusier s Venice Hospital, especially of the typical patient room, yields intimate insights into how each architect viewed the human body because each architect was ultimately concerned with and felt responsible for healing it. However, before that analysis can take place, a little background on both projects is needed.
30 26 Overview: Alvar Aalto s Paimio Sanatorium. A defining work of Alvar Aalto s early career, the Paimio Sanatorium was one of many facilities built in Finland between the World Wars because Finland had an unusually high mortality associated with tuberculosis compared to the rest of Europe ( Tuberculosis ). After placing first in a 1929 competition, Aalto refined his design and construction started in Nestled in a pine forest, the white structure rose seven stories and was meant to accommodate just under 300 Figure 15: Exterior views of Paimio Sanatorium. patients. The building included the large sun balconies typical of contemporary sanatorium architecture, a light-filled cafeteria, meeting rooms, and a chapel. The basic functions of the building have been resolved so that each wing of the building and the functions within it form a unit of its own. A-wing is the patients' wing with the sun balconies, the most important architectonic element, facing south. B-wing contains the common spaces: treatment rooms, dining hall, library and common rooms. C-wing contains the laundry, kitchens and staff accommodation. The single-story D-wing contains the boiler room and heating plant. Circulation centers on the main entrance hall between A-wing and B-wing and the stairwell linked to it,
31 27 which together give access to the other wings of the building. ( Paimio Sanatorium ) There were also walking trails that meandered through the forest. Aalto s attention to detail and focus on patient comfort makes the Paimio Sanatorium a precedent for hospital design even Figure 16: Paimio Sanatorium plan. today, more than eighty years after its inception. Between its 1933 completion and 1956, the Sanatorium underwent few changes. However, by the 1960s, the threat of tuberculosis had substantially subsided, so the Sanatorium was slowly converted into the Paimio Hospital. The flexibility of the original spaces made this relatively easy, which means that the building found on site today is extremely similar to the first construction. Overview: Le Corbusier s Venice Hospital. The Venice Hospital for the acutely ill was one of Le Corbusier s last projects. Perhaps sensing he was slowing down he was, after all, in his late seventies Le Corbusier somewhat reluctantly took the project on in December 1964 after extensive correspondence with the Venetian administration. Determined not to deprive inhabitants of Venice (or Venice of Venice), Le Corbusier conceived of a low structure that matched the 3-4 story heights of surrounding buildings, although parts stood on typical Corbusian pilotis (Fig. 17). Regularly repeating modules of space, starting with the patient room, and circulation generated the sprawling plan. In this way, Le Corbusier sought to recreate the Venetian streets he fell in love with inside
32 28 the hospital without disrupting the actual urban fabric outside. Atelier Le Corbusier called the Hospital the potato building or a building façade sans façade (Shah 190) to describe its ambiguous boundaries that Figure 17: Venice Hospital model. allowed for flexibility, growth, and osmosis both within and without, but today, this kind of structure is usually referred to as a mat. By mat architects usually mean a building type that is low-rise and highdensity, that is Figure 18: Venice Hospital plan diagram. homogenous in its layout, and that consists of a systematic repetition of a simple element such as a column, skylight, or modular room. The repetition provides the framework, both conceptual and spatial, for different possibilities of inhabitation By virtue of its ability to frame but not interfere, the mat building becomes available for different possibilities of usage. (Sarkis 14)
33 29 In the Venice Hospital, a grouping of 28 patient rooms, or care unit, was the simple element that was systematically repeated. As the project progressed, Le Corbusier travelled less and less frequently from his office in Paris to the site in Venice and gave increasing responsibility to his assistant Guillermo Julian de la Fuente. Less than a year after signing the contract for the hospital, Le Corbusier died of apparent cardiac arrest while swimming at Cap-Martin on August 27, Fuente and the atelier finished drawing the project, but construction was called off due to lack of funding just after the first concrete piloti was poured. Since the Venice Hospital was never constructed, it is impossible to definitively know how functional or comfortable the spaces would have been for patients (or how the massive scale of the building would have affected Venice). However, there are extensive sketches and sections, as well as numerous interviews with Fuente, the man arguably closest to Le Corbusier during the hospital project, that show the human body was unquestionably present in Le Corbusier s late work. In Section: The Horizontal Body. Both Aalto and Le Corbusier noticed an important aspect of the human body in the hospital context: it would, in most cases, be lying down. The horizontal man appears again and again in both the writings and sections of Aalto and Le Corbusier when they are describing the patient care room, or cell as Le Corbusier called it. Both architects recognized that a healthy human body walks around; it is vertically-oriented. A sick one, on the other hand, is stationary and horizontallyoriented. While both designs originated with the horizontal man, this critical section begins to show the different attitudes Aalto and Le Corbusier had toward the body.
34 30 Aalto claims that his design was generated after he conducted experiments to see how the patients would respond, on a psychological level, to different room layouts, colors, light qualities, and other factors. Echoing experimental psychology s research experiments conducted at the universities in Leipzig and Munich, he recounts analyzing the impact on patients of variation in temperature, types or degrees of ventilation, and levels of noise. From the results of these experiments, he concluded that the sanatorium s design needed to address an intertwined array of physiognomic, phenomenological, and cognitive phenomena particular to its afflicted users needs. The organizing spatial principle for patients rooms needed to differ from that of ordinary rooms. In a perhaps direct, perhaps unconscious, and perhaps completely unrelated allusion to one of [the] best-known premises [of August Schmarsow, a 19 th -century German art historian and precursor to modern phenomenological studies] that spatial experience depends on a vertically-aligned, ambulatory embodied subject Aalto wrote that although most interior architectural spaces accommodate an ambulatory person whose body is oriented along a vertical axis, Paimio s patients would be lying down. Hence a sanatorium s spatial organization needed to dissimilate the ordinary room in that it should be designed not around a vertical axis in motion but around a stationary, low-slung horizontal one. (Williams 22)
35 31 It is unclear whether Aalto meant to challenge the vertical phenomenological universe of the time, but it is unquestionable that his so-called experiments, phenomenological in nature, helped to generate the horizontal section of the patient room. The human Figure 19: Aalto's sketch of the horizontal body. body is the origin of Aalto s work; he always comes back to it, testing his designs against its requirements. Le Corbusier arrived at his similar section in a much different way. On one of his first visits to Venice, even before Figure 20: Le Corbusier's sketch of Carpaccio's Burial of Saint Ursula. accepting the hospital commission, he made a few quick sketches (Fig. 20) after visiting local art galleries, notably one of Carpacccio s Burial of Saint Ursula (Fig. 21). As [architectural scholar] Joseph Quetglas recently noted after encountering those sketches in the Carnets [Le Corbusier s sketchbook]: In the original paintings, Saint Ursula appears in a turbulent scene: the butchery of the pilgrims that arrived for her burial. So that the corpse of the Saint would become conspicuous in the muddle, Carpaccio moved it away and raised it, placing it on an elevated bed like Le Corbusier s beds, like the beds in Venice Hospital. In the second painting, Jesus is lying in a straight horizontal board too. The bed and the corpse is what Le
36 32 Corbusier sketches in his carnet. These two impressions the need to build without intrusion and with special concern for scale, and the image of a body elevated over the mundane could be seen as starting points for the project. (Sarkis 23-24) Le Corbusier became enamored with Carpaccio s Saint Ursula and even asked that photographs of other works by the artist be sent to his atelier in Paris. The human body in the painting is the inspiration for Le Corbusier. Like in Figure 21: Martyrdom of the Pilgrims and the Burial of Saint Ursula. Vitorre Carpaccio, the painting, Le Corbusier raised the sick above the ground, as can be seen in the section of the patient cell in (Fig. 22). Here is the important distinction between origin and inspiration (Fig. 23). For Aalto, the body is the origin; he starts with it and continually revisits it to orient his design. Le Corbusier, using the human body as only inspiration, starts with the body 2, then Figure 22: Section through the patient room unit in the Venice Hospital. departs from it in a number of ways that do not necessarily provide for it. For example, Le Corbusier raised the sick body in its room off the ground partly because that is how it is best cared for and partly because he saw it in a painting: the inspiration. However, he 2 It is important to note here that the body providing inspiration to Le Corbusier is an image, not a physical 3-D human body with sensory perception and preferences.
37 33 then elaborates this idea of the patient s removal from the ground into the section of the hospital as a whole: the departure. The first level, on the ground, is the level of connection with the city; there one finds the general services and all public access by water, by foot, and from the bridge across the lagoon. The second level is the story of preventive care, of specialized care, and of rehabilitation. It is a level of medical technology. The third level is the zone for hospitalization, and the visitors area. ( Rapport Technique 42) The sickest patients, the acutely ill, receive care on the top floor of the hospital, closest to the sky and farthest away from the hustle and bustle of the ground. Corbusier acknowledges this hustle and bustle as healthy when he Figure 23: Aalto comes back to the body (origin), while Le Corbusier starts with the body (inspiration), but then departs from it to pursue other concepts. accepted the hospital commission but warned the mayor of Venice of placing skyscrapers in the low-lying urban fabric of the city: Don t kill Venice, I beg you (Shah 4). Le Corbusier saw a life in the busy, social streets of Venice, but the streets (and therefore, the first floor of the hospital) are the domain of the truly healthy reception, administration, security, and kitchen and laundry staff. The second floor was then, appropriately, given to those patients who were not bedridden but not yet healthy enough to enter back into normal society those in physical therapy or seeking preventative care. Le Corbusier thought the sickest patients needed to be alone in their rooms to be healthy. He did, however, at the same time try to give them aspects of the streets of
38 34 Venice by putting gathering spaces ( campiello in Italian, public squares in English) and circulation corridors ( calle or streets ) nearby. [The patient room] created at the human scale, gave rise to a care unit of 28 patients, which functions autonomously. This unit is organized around a central space of communication (campiello) and four paths (calle), which are intended for both circulation and inhabitation by patients in convalescence On the same level the patient will find the conditions of daily life, upon entrance into the calle, the campiello, and the hanging gardens. ( Rapport Technique 42) Le Corbusier gave his patients (and it is likely he really did think of them as his) what he saw as healing, architectural analogies to the Venetian urban fabric: private dwellings surrounded by social spaces, engaging circulation paths, and greenery. When patients were at their weakest, they were to be alone in their cell and removed from others; when they were feeling a stronger, they could venture out into a hospital version of the street. The schematic section of the Venice Hospital shows that Le Corbusier did not revisit the human body s needs after the initial moves; the human body was the inspiration, the starting point in the form of the patient cell, but the design of the hospital as a whole was soon subordinated to the ultimately poorly-executed concept of bringing Venice inside the hospital, resulting in a mat building that would have been a planning disaster given Venice s dense, historical urban fabric (Fig. 24). Figure 24: Figure/ground study of Venice Hospital (in red) compared to Venetian context (in black).
39 35 However, on the scale of the patient cell, both Aalto and Le Corbusier are successful in caring for the human body. The focus on the horizontal man had immediate implications on the architecture: ceilings, lighting and sound qualities, circulation, views to the exterior, and even minor architectural details all needed to be reconsidered for a room tailored to a horizontal body that could not easily relocate itself when bored or uncomfortable. This was not lost on either Aalto or Le Corbusier. The patient cell will from this point remain the main focus of analysis because it is the space most relevant to a discussion of the human body. Le Corbusier called these cells points of departure (Sarkis 26) for the whole scheme of the hospital. While the Venice Hospital as a whole showed little consideration for the human body, the details of the patient cell were actually quite responsive to a horizontal body s needs. Aalto similarly started with the patient room. Obviously both hospitals had an immense network of circulation, service, and complementary spaces that served the doctoral, nursing, administrative, maintenance, and other staffs, but the attention given to the patient resting in their room is the key component in evaluating each architect s sensitivity to the human body. Even though they had differing attitudes about the human body s role in the design process, both Aalto and Le Corbusier made similar architectural gestures in the name of patient comfort, likely because they arrived at the same horizontal man section. Light, color, and sound were controlled to create a restful, but varied environment. Nature was incorporated to encourage personal reflection. If the Paimio Sanatorium is a masterpiece for the human body, then the Venice Hospital, at least when examined on the scale of the patient room, is too.
40 36 Light, Color, and Sound for the Horizontal Body. Both Aalto and Le Corbusier recognized the patient s need for comfort and quiet, and both took care to provide spaces free from visual stress or unnecessary auditory disturbances. Aalto thought through how his infirm users would respond, visually and perceptually, to different ceiling colors and illumination schemes. He oriented their bedrooms south-southeast, which Figure 25: Typical patient room in Aalto's Paimio Sanatorium. he explained, offered the most variable natural light, basking resting invalids in the morning s softer rays while shading their eyes from the sharp glare of the afternoon sun. He painted some walls to reflect light, others to absorb it, depending on how much sun each would receive in different seasons and at different times of day. In the interest of visual variety, he exaggerated tonal variations in the ceilings with dark hued, highly-saturated (and therefore perceptually variable) bluish-green. No overhead fixtures cast light into the resting patient s eyes: Aalto explains that his scheme for artificial lighting, combined with the room s dark tonal values, would greatly reduce eye-stressing glare. (Williams 24) In a similar way, Le Corbusier also provided variety using colors and natural daylight. It was anticipated that for each (bed unit) there would be a glazed opening 3 x 1 meters, placed above a ceiling 2.25 meters high, located in front of
41 37 it, which would give pleasant reflected light for the patient in bed. A colored panel placed on the outside of the unit gives color to the reflected light, or an intensity that varies at different times of the day. These panels were to be of different colors, creating a variety of effects/moods. At the same time, the arrangement permits an exact control over the intensity of light. All these factors were to correlate the psychological importance of color on the spirits of patients. (Shah 56) Both architects also knew the positive psychological effect that natural light has on people. Aalto provided large plate-glass windows for each patient, giving them access to views of the surrounding forest, as well as variable natural light. Le Corbusier, on the other hand, employed controversial hidden skylights that offered similar light, but no views to the outside. He writes: As you have seen, all the rooms are Figure 26: Le Corbusier saw the sky as Venice's "real" window. illuminated from the ceiling. This can accommodate two possibilities: If the patient is confined to bed and does not have the need or wish to look outside, the light is received from above (or diffused along a wall) If the patient is unable to move and wishes to look outside, the patient is moved to the middle of the room and is able to watch the sky. For in reality, the sky is the true Venetian landscape: for we have walked in the narrow Venetian streets and have observed the position of the houses and the
42 38 windows, and have discovered that the true window is really the sky and in the patient cell/room we create again the same situation. (Shah 58) Even though the hospital was sited on the edge of a lagoon, patients in the Venice Hospital would only have been able to look at the passing clouds had they wanted an outside view. The logic behind these windowless roof-lit patient cells has been repeatedly questioned, but In defense of the roof-lit patient cells, Julian [de la Fuente] mentioned that Le Corbusier identified the Venetian sky as the real window of the city. Furthermore, it can be argued that Le Corbusier was commissioned to the design of the hospital primarily for acutely ill patients. In the contemporary hospitals, these patients were almost always kept at the [ICU] [which] usually do not include clear glass windows and direct light this is primarily due to the fragile emotional and physical health of the patient, who remains mostly bedridden and at times unconscious or only partially conscious of her/his surroundings. Therefore it can be postulated that the hospital project did provide a realistic design strategy to be able to function as a reasonably successful hospital. (Shah ) The average sanatorium stay for a patient with tuberculosis was a little over year, although many patients stayed 3-5 years ( Sanatorium Age ). In most cases, these patients were aware of their surroundings, but their illness necessitated their isolation. Acutely ill patients, the kind the Venice Hospital catered to, stayed on average a mere 15 days. They floated in and out of consciousness as their care was administered. It was, then, in Aalto s case more necessary to give the patients at Paimio a view of the outside,
43 39 to break up the boredom by letting them more fully see the change from day to night and season to season. Given the types of patients cared for in each hospital, the lighting schemes in both are appropriate and tailored to the needs of the patient. Quiet reigned in the Paimio Sanatorium and Venice Hospital. [Aalto] placed access panels to plumbing fixtures in the hallways outside invalids rooms so that the pipes could be serviced without disturbing a patient s rest. He packed one wall in each room with sound-absorbing materials. Most famously, he specially designed noiseless sinks [Fig. 27] reconfiguring the conventional sink basin to reduce the auditory disruption of tap water splashing at acute angles onto an impermeable porcelain surface. (Williams 24) Similarly, Le Corbusier sought to create a quiet space conducive to reflection and healing. Figure 27: Aalto's sketch for the noiseless sinks at the Paimio Sanatorium. Although Corbusier did not draw attention to acoustical considerations when discussing the project as Aalto did, the considerations are clear if one looks at Corbusier s specifications in the Rapport Technique. The entire surface of all interior masonry walls will be coated with a sound- and weather-insulation material The floors will be covered with an insulating and sound-absorbing material Some doors will be sliding doors (as with the panels between patient rooms); these will be covered with plastic laminate and equipped with devices that allow them to
44 40 function silently, such as nylon wheels, or any other device that will provide full sound absorption. (46-47) Nature as Cure. Along with silence, both architects also believed that access to nature was beneficial to one s health. Standard medical treatment for tuberculosis at the time included fresh air and heliotherapy (sun treatment), so Aalto gave each patient a large Figure 28: Sun patios at the Paimio Sanatorium. window in their room with a view to the surrounding forest. While it appears these windows were inoperable, the Sanatorium also featured exterior sun patios (Fig. 28) so patients could bask in the sun, which was thought to kill the bacteria that caused certain types of TB. If patients were well enough to Figure 29: Rooftop garden of Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye, move about on their own, Aalto also landscaped walking trails through the forest to allow quiet contemplation and a break from the monotony of treatment. Aalto s secluded forest site allowed for more direct contact with nature, but Le Corbusier found a way to incorporate greenery one of his essential joys (Shah xviii), along with light and space, that he believed every Figure 30: Plantwall by Green Fortune.
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