Historic Preservation

Symposium: Therapeutic Landscapes

Thursday, April 9, 2015 6:00pmFriday, April 10, 2015 5:00pm
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Lower Gallery, Meyerson Hall

Therapeutic Landscapes: Genesis, Fate, Future

Keynote address: Dell Upton, Thursday, April 9, 6pm
Symposium: Friday, April 10, 9am - 5pm

Event is free and open to the public. AIA and ASLA continuing education credits will be available. 
Click here to register for the symposium.

This symposium examines the historical and present-day conviction that certain kinds of designed environments are good for us.  Prior to 1900, when the germ theory of disease gained greater acceptance, the notion that miasma or “bad air” caused a wide array of illnesses was widespread.  Coupled with reformist ideals and a belief that key social problems were also, in some sense, contagious, this body of medico-scientific thought exerted broad influence on the design of institutions such as asylums, hospitals, cemeteries, parks, and penitentiaries.  Historians have sometimes used the term “therapeutic landscape” to highlight the formal and ideological links among such sites.  Our one-day, interdisciplinary symposium asks: Did “therapeutic” principles cohere?  Did they amount to a sensibility more than a prescription?  How did competing forms of knowledge in the increasingly professionalized realms of medicine, landscape, and architecture interact after 1900?  How might they inform contemporary design practices and / or the reuse of older sites?  Please join us as we look for answers.

The symposium’s principal organizer is Assistant Professor Aaron Wunsch of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation and Landscape Architecture department. Professor Wunsch is collaborating with Professor David Barnes from the Department of the History & Sociology of Science; Professor Patricia D’Antonio, Chair of the Department of Family and Community Health in the UPenn School of Nursing; and Professor Richard Weller, Chair of the Landscape Architecture department. Professor Wunsch has consulted with Professor Randall Mason, Chair of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation; Professor Frank Matero of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation, and David Hewitt, Lecturer in the City and Regional Planning program as well as UPenn’s School of Arts & Science. Graduate student Jennifer Robinson is the symposium’s coordinator.

Full Schedule
Thursday, April 9th, 6pm, Lower Gallery
Dell Upton, Keynote
Professor, UCLA, Department of Art History

Friday, April 10th, Lower Gallery
9:00 – 10:00am  Registration, Meyerson Hall Lobby
10:00 AM – Opening comments by Prof. Aaron Wunsch, “What’s a Therapeutic Landscape”

Session 1: Atmospherics
Chaired by Elizabeth Milroy
10:25 AM – David Barnes, “Time, Air, and Purification: Lessons from Philadelphia’s Lazaretto
10:50 AM – Annmarie Adams, “Hospital air.”
11:15 AM РGina Greene, In the Garden of Puériculture: The Cultivation of French Infants in Real and Imagined Landscapes of Care (1895-1935)
11:45 AM – Questions and Discussion

12:10 PM – Lunch Break
1:25 PM – Gathering Period

Session 2: Control
Chaired by Patricia D’Antonio
1:35 PM – Carla Yanni, “From Lunatic to Student: The Architecture of Asylums and Dormitories”
2:00 PM – LuAnn DeCunzo and Joel Fry, “Archaeology of the Magdalen Society Asylum”
2:30 PM – Questions and Discussion

2:55 PM – Break

Session 3: Cities as Therapeutic Landscapes
Chaired by David Hewitt
3:10 PM – Meghan Crnic and Jason M. Chernesky, “Hinterlands of Health: Class, Leisure, and the Engineering of Therapeutic Environments, 1850-1930”
3:40 PM – Charles Branas, Title Forthcoming, will focus on Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
4:05 PM – Theodore Eisenman, “Greening Cities in the 19th and 21st Centuries: A Comparative Assessment”
4:30 PM – Questions and Discussion
5:00 PM – Symposium wrap up and closing comments