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Social Distance

Perspectives from architectural history and theory on contagion, disease, and health.

The term “social distance” was once only a vague metaphor to describe the relationship between different social groups. It has now acquired a precise meaning as the mandatory minimum distance for face-to-face interactions. But what is the appropriate distance from which to interpret a pandemic? Rather than asserting a diagnosis of the contemporary emergency, Social Distance offers perspectives from architectural history and theory. From the great plague of Venice to cholera in the industrializing city, from the human placenta to the office of today, this work provides a broad range of reflections on contagion, disease, and health.

150 pages | 70 halftones | 8 1/4 x 11 3/4

gta papers

Architecture: History of Architecture

Sociology: Social Change, Social Movements, Political Sociology

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Width of a Desk
Adam Jasper, post-doctoral researcher at the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (gta) at ETH Zurich

Burnacini’s Cloud
Markus Wörgötter, artist and curator

The Prophylactic Landscape: Sand and Typhoid on the Merrimack River
Laila Seewang, assistant professor in Architecture at Portland State University

On Airs, Waters, and Places: The Construction of a Natural History of Healthcare in Twentieth-Century Greece
Lydia Xynogala, doctoral fellow at the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (gta) ETH Zurich

Dangerous Congestions: Cholera, Mapping, and the Beginnings of Modern Urbanism
Christa Kamleithner, postdoctoral researcher and lecturer for Art History at the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg

Infection and the Politics of Space: The Cordon Sanitaire
Miloš Kosec, associate research fellow
Leslie Topp, professor of architectural history in the Department of History of Art at Birkbeck, University of London

The London Wall and the Great Plague of 1665
Gregorio Astengo, scientific assistant at the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (gta), ETH Zurich

The Villa
Britta Hentschel, lecturer for the history of architecture, art, and urban planning at the University of Liechtenstein

From the gta Archives
Selected by Daniel Weiss

Medical Progress and Social Revolution: David Alfaro Siqueiros ’Mural for the Centro Médico Nacional
Alex Winiger, visual artist, and archivist at the gta Archives, ETH Zurich

A Room of One’s Own
Jeanne Kisacky, author of Rise of the Modern Hospital: An Architectural History of Health and Healing, 1870–1940 (2017). She has taught classes at Cornell University, Syracuse University and Binghamton University

Separate and Together: The General Hospital and the Twentieth-Century City
Annmarie Adams and David Theodore, faculty members at the Peter Guo-hua Fu School of Architecture, McGill University, Montreal. They have worked separately and together on the history of hospital architecture since 1991

Hospital-as-City: The Healthcare Architecture of Herzog & de Meuron
Irina Davidovici, senior researcher at the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (gta) at ETH Zurich

Airborne Infection and Breathing Walls
Didem Ekici, assistant professor and a member of the Architecture, Culture and Tectonics (ACT) Research Group at the University of Nottingham

The Viral Balcony: Or the Vicissitudes of an Urban Element in Times of Pandemic
Tom Avermaete (chair), Nicole de Lalouvière, Hamish Lonergan, Janina Gosseye, Korinna Zinovia Weber.
Contributions by Fatina Abreek-Zubiedat, Marianna Charitonidou, Irina Davidovici, and Maxime Zaugg
Tom Avermaete is professor for History and Theory of Urban Design at the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (gta) at ETH Zurich.

From the Bear Pit: On Architecture, Confinement, and Social Distancing
Stanislaus von Moos, Professor Emeritus of Art History at the University of Zurich

Caroline A. Jones, professor at MIT for art history, runs the Transmedia Storytelling Initiative and serves as Associate Dean for the School of Architecture and Planning.

Some Inflated Expectations
Cathelijne Nuijsink, postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (gta) at ETH Zurich

“We Have Enough Food—That Wasn’t the Problem”
Lukas Stadelmann, architect and researcher with Malheur&Fortuna in Basel, Switzerland

Reconstruction and Redistribution: A Transatlantic Conversation on Architecture, Politics, and Pandemic
Anne Kockelkorn, co-director of the Master of Advanced Studies in History and Theory of Architecture, ETH Zurich.
Reinhold Martin, professor of architecture at Columbia GSAPP, founder of the journal Grey Room, and director of the Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture

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