Seminar / Fall 2017 / Year 4 / Rice Architecture / Professor Piergianna Mazzocca

Bedtime depicts the hovering bed tower of Uniklinik Köln, a 1963 hospital by Erwin Heinle and Robert Wischer. The seminar interrogates the often ignored bed as an object which upon scrutiny offers evidence of social conditions and architectural organization. Embedded with narratives of health, hygiene, medicine, efficiency, aesthetics, and the body, the bed serves as a vehicle for re-reading the history of modernism, speculating on the relationship between architecture and the clinical.

The 1960's embraced modernization in an effort to render all things hyper-efficient, dominating all aspects of hospital design with an attitude of speed and streamlined operations. In an effort to rationalize and accelerate medical care, hospitals of the 1960’s tackled the problem of hospital traffic, focusing on making rapid all communication and circulation.

The drawing, Bedtime, explores the details of a time-centric efficiency. Descending, each floor represents the same room at a different time of day.

The lack of human presence emphasizes the idea of an efficient, traffic-free hospital, emphasizing the objects of inhabitation instead, reflecting the 1960’s machine-mentality of the mechanization of objects as labor-saving devices. The presence of a pneumatic tube system, which runs through the entire hospital, and devices such as bedside remotes and wheeled furniture replace the need for human movement, cutting out traffic altogether within this drawing.

© Lara Hansmann 2020