Inhabiting the Atmosphere: The Queen Alexandra Sanatorium in Davos
Indexnummer: 9'11, 5.0.0.2/5, Staatsarchiv Thurgau
9:00 Uhr
Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Campus Westend

Vortrag (nur für Mitglieder)

Inhabiting the Atmosphere: The Queen Alexandra Sanatorium in Davos

Tim Altenhof

The Queen Alexandra Sanatorium in Davos makes regular appearances in the historiography of modern architecture and yet it has never been addressed in depth. A pioneering structure toward an alpine modernity, it was designed by the Swiss architects Otto Wilhelm Pfleghard and Max Haefeli Sr., and opened its doors in 1909 for British TB patients of little means. While previous scholarship on sanatoriums traced their impact on modern architecture, or stressed their potential as medical technologies, this talk examines through a combination of archival research, historic climate studies, and recent scholarship, how medical thinking and scientific conceptions of the atmosphere inflected the design and location of this structure. Ultimately, this sanatorium was a building to expose its patients to the atmosphere rather than to protect them against the weather and it could only do so because the surrounding air was considered pure and perfectly still. And could it be, that the atmosphere itself served as a proxy-envelope for this structure?

Tim Altenhof is an architect and a university assistant in architectural theory at the University of Innsbruck. He holds a PhD from Yale University, where his dissertation, entitled Breathing Space: The Architecture of Pneumatic Beings, was awarded the Theron Rockwell Field Prize in 2018. An excerpt of this work, which was published in English and Italian under the title “The House-As-Chimney: Erich Mendelsohn’s Breathing Space at Luckenwalde”, won the Bruno Zevi Prize 2018. During the fall semester 2022, Tim is an International Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) Essen, where he finishes his book manuscript, a monograph on the ways in which different conceptions of the atmosphere and a heightened awareness for breathing affected modern architecture in the early twentieth century.

Tim Altenhof ist im Jour Fixe des Schwerpunkts zu Gast und wird mit den Mitgliedern des Schwerpunkts über seine aktuelle Forschung sprechen.