Architecture of health and charity

From December 16th, 2022 to March 28th, 2023 -
Musée d'Orsay
Map & itinerary
Maurice Boille
Un sanatorium sur les bords de la Méditerranée, élévation, en 1910
Musée d'Orsay
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d’Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski
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In the 19th century, social government policies started developing tentatively and joined the generosity of philanthropists to gradually improve the material conditions of caring for the sick, impoverished and those who had suffered accidents while working.

This social function was expressed through new functional buildings and hospitals that took account of the advancement of scientific knowledge about health as well as formal technical innovations due to the rationalist movement. Several waves of building healthcare establishments continued the impetus generated by miasma theories (airborne contagion) at the end of the Age of Enlightenment.


Initiatives came from the State (Imperial Asylum of Vincennes), municipalities (Trousseau hospital, in Paris), or private patrons demonstrating charity, like the Furtado-Heine dispensary built in Paris by Paul Blondel. The hospital became a subject studied in architecture schools, as Hector Guimard’s drawings for a small hospice show, along with those by Maurice Boille for a sanatorium.

The exhibition is now over.

See the whole program

Exhibition artworks