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Gina Greene

Architectural History/School of Architecture
ggreene@princeton.edu

Gina Greene's research examines an interesting chapter in the history of cultural policy: the use of architecture and design to physically rehabilitate young, working-class children during the Third Republic in France (1870-1940). As the nation became increasingly distressed by the ppor physical condition of its citizens -- as evidenced by high infant and child mortality rates -- physicians, educators, scientists, and politicians turned to architecture as a way to bolster children's heath. Greene is particularly interested in a type of school promoted heavily during the inter-war period by the Ministry of Education and the French medical community: the ecole de plein air, or open-air school. These sophisticated, glass-walled modernist structures were designed to improve the health of weakly, 'pre-tubercular' children by increasing their access to nature, fresh air, and sunlight -- the same program of rehabilitation used in tuberculosis sanatoria. The collaboration that ensued between politicians, physicians, and architects to drive the design of health-promoting school buildings became a larger project of social engineering. (2009)


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