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UER Forum > UE Encyclopedia > Kirkbride Plan (Viewed 7679 times)
Entry: Kirkbride Plan
originally posted by Caput_58

[last edit 4/13/2006 5:32 AM by megankc - edited 1 times]

Created by Dr. Thomas Kirkbride, the Kirkbride Plan described in detail a system for the treatment of the mentally ill. Central to the plan was the theory that mental illness could be cured if the patient was removed from the excitement of urban life and allowed to live in a tranquil rural environment. Exposure to light and fresh air was emphasized.

His book, On the Construction, Organization and General Arrangements of Hospitals for the Insane was practically a cookbook for the creation of an asylum. During the 19th century, his design was used as a model for asylum construction, particularly in the U.S.

Most important, for UE purposes, was the general floorplan he created. It featured a central administration building flanked by two wings, one for each sex. Each wing was further divided in wards, with each ward connected by halls running at right angles. The effect was to create a shallow 'V'. The advantage was that each ward would be surrounded on four sides by open views, without seeing into the windows of nearby wards. More violent patients were generally placed in wards further from the center, to increase tranquility for the less disturbed patients.


from http://www.abandonedasylums.com


A 'Kirkbride Building' can be still be found on the grounds of many mental hospitals. It is easily recognizable from aerial photos or topo maps.




Sources:
http://www.kirkbridebuildings.com/

My Update (Hope I'm doing this right)
He believed that hospitals should not care for more than 250 patients total. The central building (which the patient wings go off from) was to hold the administrative office and living quarters of the superintendent. The layout was to provide the superintendent easy access to all patients. His philosophy of hospital architecture was founded on the assumption that insanity was a curable disease, that by judicious moral and phsyical treatment many patients could be brought back to health. (page 235, "The state of the mentally ill: a history of worcester state hospital in massachusetts, 1830-1920" By Gerald Grob 1966).
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