How TB treatment spurred modern architecture: 5 things to know

Sanatoria used to treat tuberculosis patients in the late-19th and 20th centuries served as inspiration for many Modernist architects, according CityLab.

Here are five things to know:

1. Tuberculosis death rates skyrocketed in the 1800s due to poor living conditions, such as overcrowding and inadequate sanitation. Fast-forward to 1900, and the disease still represented the nation's third leading cause of death, according to the report.

2. Standard treatment for tuberculosis "was primarily environmental — and the design of sanatoria influenced Modernist architecture," CityLab wrote. The sanatoria often included design elements to emphasize natural light and facilitate patients' access to fresh air.

3. The United States' first tuberculosis sanitorium was built in Saranac Lake, N.Y., in 1885. The facility contained a glass-enclosed deck called a "cure porch" where patients spent much of their time relaxing.

4. CityLab said many of sanatoria's design elements, such as "flat roofs, terraces and balconies, and white- or light-painted rooms" greatly influenced modern architecture across Europe.

5. Some of these design principles, such as exposure to nature, are still part of healthcare architecture today.

"Visit many newer hospitals today and you'll see instances of integrating nature into the healing process, whether it's an atrium full of natural light or patient rooms overlooking a green space," CityLab said.

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