27 December 2005

Grant Medical Clinic -- article pt. 1

Armstrong's Grant Medical Clinic of 1938 located at the intersection of North Taylor and West Pine in the Central West End.

This article "Architecture for Use -- Streamlining a Physician's Office" is as much a description of good design applied to a doctor's office as it is excellent P.R. for both the architect and the physician.

While an entry with so many steps would never be allowed in front of a medical office, the article does explain the reason for raising the Waiting Room (and the entire clinic, for that matter) above street level. Doing so provides privacy, respite from traffic noise, and better views.

From today's perspective, the interior of the office, exam rooms, etc. would be appropriately described as functional, it seems unlikely that the Grant Medical Clinic's exterior would today be consider an example of functional design. Of course the connotation of that terms has reversed itself completely in less than one hundred years.

At that time, creating architecture that was "functional" by focusing on "use" and by employing techniques of "streamlining" was considered advanced, progressive, and optimistic about the future. Today, the term "functional" has been so seriously degraded that calling a building is functional is generally perceived as pejorative.

Newspaper clipping courtesy of the Harris Armstrong Archives, Special Collections, Washington University in Saint Louis.

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