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Featured Article Of The Week

Kirkbride Planned Institutions

Danvers Aerial 01.jpg

The Kirkbride Plan is a 19th century building style that is the direct result of Dr. Thomas Story Kirkbride. Early in his career as superintendent of the Institute of the Pennsylvania Hospital he wrote a book titled: On the Construction, Organization and General Arrangements of Hospitals for the Insane. Within his book he espoused an architectural design for the hospital, administration of said asylum, placement of the hospital, and how the hospital grounds should be created and maintained.

A Kirkbride Plan building consists of a center section for the hospital administration and (in the early days) a living area for the superintendant and his family. Behind and to either side of the administration section are "wings" that contain patient wards. The patient wards staggered out and back from the administration section. From the air the building would look like a "V" or a "bat wing". Chapels, auditoriums, libraries, and kitchens were often built directly onto the rear of the administration section as this was a convenient, central location for these facilities since the male and female patients resided on opposite sides of the building. The Kirkbride Plan allowed for many other advantages over previous building styles. Click here for more...