The garden in the modern hospital architecture of the ‘Carioca School’ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Abstract

The purpose of this article is to explore the role of gardens in the architecture of hospitals of the so-called “carioca school” of architecture, between the years of 1930 and 1960. In other words, to analyze gardens in the works of carioca architects who surrounded the architect Lucio Costa, or whose projects were influenced by the conceptions of this first generation of modern architects, who first graduated architecture school at the National College of Fine Arts and then, after 1945, at the National College of Architecture, in Rio de Janeiro.

The importance of gardens in the architecture of hospitals was mentioned in Edward Stevens’s book “The American hospital of the twentieth century”, in 1918, a publication which can be found at the UFRJ Architecture School library, as well as in the Brazilian doctors’ book collections at the time. Stevens dedicates a chapter of this book to the landscape theme, where he states that the hospital designer and the landscape architect should work together.

On the other hand, Pasteur’s discoveries and their implications in the management of hospital space did not occur without the mediation of landscaping. They resulted in changes when it came to choose the site for the hospital building within a city, as well as in its formal typology - from the Tollet model of pavilions, to the existence of green areas surrounding high buildings, and overlapping nurseries.

It is also relevant to bear in mind that public nationalist buildings played an important role after the revolution of 1930 in Brazil as they represented the state, and this resulted in significant projects.

We are therefore going to present four hospital buildings which were analyzed in our research on the integration of the Arts in the architecture of hospitals. Although the Lagoa Hospital, by Oscar Niemeyer, the Sanatorium Complex of Curicica, by Sérgio Bernardes, the IPPMG, by Jorge Machado Moreira, and the Souza Aguiar Hospital, by Ary Garcia Roza, all have different programs, formal typologies and links with their surrounding area, they are good examples for debating the presence of gardens in the Modern architecture of hospitals in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Three of these examples have fortunately included projects by landscape designer Roberto Burle Marx - the Lagoa Hospital, the IPPMG and the Souza Aguiar Hospital. The two former hospitals have had their buildings be surrounded by large gardens, in order to mitigate the harmful health effects related to the inclusion of hospitals within urban areas. The latter has been built in the 1960s with a complex program, in a dense historical area downtown, but adjacent to an urban park. It includes a vertical garden, which delimits, along with a panel in the hall (also by the same designer), a hallway for the user, between the urban and the healing space.

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