What We Learned From the Paimio Sanatorium as a Spatial Reflection of Contagious Diseases

What We Learned From the Paimio Sanatorium as a Spatial Reflection of Contagious Diseases

Ayşe Sirel
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7495-9.ch012
(Individual Chapters)
No Current Special Offers


While the threat of tuberculosis, one of the old and important epidemic diseases, could not be completely eradicated, at the end of 2019, the world was faced with a new epidemic, COVID-19. Epidemic diseases such as tuberculosis and COVID-19 bring restrictions and limitations to daily life. It also revealed the need to explore what criteria might be in designing healthy architectural spaces and what kind of future planning-design-production issues shall be rethought. In this context, the problem question of the study is discovered: What might be the new possible design principles in shaping new buildings due to life changes during or after the pandemic process? In order to search for the answer to this question, the Paimio Sanatorium complex in Finland, which constitutes the best example of the reflection of epidemic diseases to space, was examined on-site by the author. In this chapter, the author aims to elucidate how the architectural design features of the Sanatorium buildings may be effective in guiding the architecture during and post COVID-19 pandemic.
Chapter Preview


The report published by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) on 24.03.2020 states that the threat posed by tuberculosis, one of the world's largest infectious and lethal epidemic diseases, has yet to be terminated (Kadets, 2020). Having discovered the bacillus that causes tuberculosis in 1882, the German Dr. Robert Koch stated that the importance of a disease to humanity is measured by the number of deaths it causes, and tuberculosis is the most frightening infectious disease and kills one in seven people (Frith, 2020). Approximately 140 years after this discourse, a report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that 1.5 million people died of tuberculosis in 2018 (TB Alliance, 2020; WHO, 2019). While tuberculosis continues to be a serious public health problem as it has not been eradicated entirely, the whole world was faced with dramatic changes brought on by a new epidemic, Covid-19, in late-2019. According to another report published by the World Health Organization on the new epidemic, it is stated that 2.135.959 people died from Covid-19 until the first months of 2021 (WHO, 2021). Like the tuberculosis epidemic, Covid-19 has been recognized as a global disease that causes a significant number of illnesses and deaths worldwide. In addition to the tuberculosis disease, which has been on the agenda since the 19th century, the new Covid-19 pandemic shows that infectious epidemics have not lost their effectiveness in the modern world. So we are faced with the fact that we will continue to live alongside these diseases for a while. The Covid-19 pandemic also shows that despite all the advances in medicine, outbreaks are not just a health issue. While epidemic diseases such as tuberculosis and Covid-19 imposing restrictions and limitations on our daily life, the need to rethink architectural concerns about mental health as well as people's physical health, what criteria is necessary in designing healthy architectural spaces and what kind of planning-design-production issues we are faced with in the future have also been tabled for discussion. In this context, the problem question of the article; “What might new design principles be in the shaping of new structures due to lifestyle changes during or after the pandemic process.

The entire world was suddenly caught off-guard and unprepared for the Covid-19 pandemic. The temporal urgency of this pandemic and its extremely deadly consequences on a global scale have made it more disastrous than any other epidemic. Although countries around the world conduct various types of counting cases, have different economic and social histories, exhibit different levels of political commitment and trust, and are impacted differently in regards to healthcare infrastructure (hospital beds, ventilators, hospital staff, etc.), it has been observed they are generally inadequate in coping with the Covid-19 crisis. In addition to medical uncertainties (new vaccines not yet widespread, no definitive curative drugs, etc.), bureaucratic uncertainties, architectural structural deficiencies of health buildings and profit-oriented health strategies have worsened the impact of the pandemic. For instance, huge gaps in the US public health infrastructure have been observed (Adams, 2020; Kierans, 2020).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Alvar Aalto (1898-1976): Finnish architect who made many important contributions to architecture. His work includes architecture, furniture, textiles and glassware, as well as sculptures and paintings. He is also called the “Father of Modern Architecture”.

Paimio: A town and municipality of Finland. Paimio is best known for Paimio Sanatorium which it was built in 1932 (designed by architect Alvar Aalto) operating as a part of Turku University Hospital.

Epidemiyoloji: The branch of medical science concerned with occurrence, transmission and control of disease (who, when, and where).

Coronavirus: The virus that causes COVID-19 is a new (novel) strain of coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. It causes mild flu-like symptoms, but severe cases can be fatal (WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/search/search_results/default.aspx?query=Coronavirus+disease%3A ).

Architectural Design: The case of designing spaces, furniture based on a certain rule or perception of beauty and functionality. It is emerges as a result of the combination of highly complex processes where functionality, durability, aesthetics, economy and solutions of many different problems are evaluated together.

Infectious Disease: It is diseases caused by biological agents, which can be transmitted to others, rather than by genetic, physical or chemical agents. This definition includes disease caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi and prions ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infectious_Diseases_Society_of_America )

Public Health: the health of the population as a whole, especially as the subject of government regulation and support.

Hermann Brehmer (1826-1889): The German doctor that the first private sanatorium facilities where he was able to apply his own experimental treatment methods in Görbersdorf In 1854 Germany. Görbersdorf remained within German borders until 1945 then it became part of Poland after World War II.

Infectious Diseases Society of America: A medical association representing physicians, scientists and other health care professionals who specialize in infectious diseases. It was founded in 1963 and is based in Arlington, Virginia. IDSA's purpose is to improve the health of individuals, communities, and society by promoting excellence in patient care, education, research, public health, and prevention relating to infectious diseases ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infectious_Diseases_Society_of_America ).

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): A national public health institute in the United States (located in Antlanta). It is serve the expertise, information, and tools that people and communities need to protect their health through health promotion, prevention of disease, injury and disability, and preparedness for new health threats (WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/search/search_results/default.aspx?query=The%20Centers%20for%20Disease%20Control%20and%20Prevention ).

Outbreak: A disease outbreak happens when a disease occurs in greater numbers than expected in a community or region or during a season. It can last from days to years (WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/qa/what-is-a-disease-outbreak ).

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: