This reexamination of Josef Hoffmann's Purkersdorf Sanatorium (Purkersdorf, Austria, 1904-1905) takes as its starting point the fact that Hoffmann's building was built as part of a complex founded by the psychologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing as a sanatorium for nervous ailments. Krafft-Ebing believed that the modern metropolis was ruining the nervous health of its inhabitants and called for the widespread establishment of sanatoriums to treat the nervous case. The article proposes that Krafft-Ebing's appeal to the healing power of light, air, nature, simplicity, and regularity influenced Hoffmann's design for the Purkersdorf Sanatorium. Also influential, it argues, was the fact that around 1900 the scientific basis of Krafft-Ebing's physical approach to neurosis was being shaken by Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic method. The self-consciously "technological" aspects of Hoffmann's design helped to reinforce the perception among patients that their ailments were being treated in a rational, fact-based manner.
- Copyright 1997 The Society of Architectural Historians