The roots of modernism are a lot less groundbreaking than reactionary. And the response was to tuberculosis. The late 19th century was unwell with TB. Filthy streets and smoky air, dark courtyards and rooms stuffed with velvet-upholstered household furniture, hangings and ornaments.
The remedy was the sanatorium. The gleaming white refuge in the mountains with its fresh air, bracing breezes, and blankets on the balcony. It was the earth of Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain, the sanatorium as a metaphor for a break from the city, cleansed by modernity and the clinical device.
Architectural historian Beatriz Colomina suggests that “modern architecture was formed by the dominant medical obsession of its time — tuberculosis — and the technological know-how that turned related with it: X-rays”.
The X-ray produced the obscure interior of the entire body obvious. Modern architecture, with its skeletal frames and plate glass home windows would do a