The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
In 1944, the architect José Villagrán García, Supervisor of Hospital Projects and Construction at the Secretaría de Salubridad y Asistencia [Ministry of Health and Medical Care], declared that hospital buildings were architectural works and therefore artworks, at least in Mexico. The basis of the declaration was his belief that the art of construction must be intimately related to people’s lives and daily activities. For architect Villagrán, the construction of hospitals had to combine both aesthetic and social components. Above all, hospitals had to be functional, but they also had to be aesthetically and visually attractive. He concluded that the technical/ functional /constructional and economic elements not only may coexist, but must coexist, with the aesthetic /social elements in a hospital building in order to define it as a living artwork. In other words, it must be at the service of humankind.
José Villagrán García (1901–1982) was one of the architects who best represented the functional style known as “rationalism.” His ties to the architecture of healthcare buildings began in 1925 with the creation of the design for the Instituto de Higiene y Granja Sanitaria [Institute for Farm Health and Hygiene] in Popotla; subsequently, in 1929, with the Hospital para Tuberculosos [Tuberculosis Hospital] in Huipulco; and, in 1938, the architect built the Instituto Nacional de Cardiología [National Cardiology Institute], in Mexico City all of them. He was responsible for hospital design, so that Villagrán organized a group of young architects, Enrique Yáñez (1908–1990) outstood among them. The Boletín de la Secretaría de Salubridad y Asistencia [Bulletin of the Ministry of Health and Medical Care] published this lecture given by Villagrán at the second Instituto Regional sobre Organización y Administración de Hospitales [Regional Institute on Hospital Organization and Administration] held in Lima, Peru, from December 3–16, 1944.
The press coverage of Proyecto Hospitales [Hospital Construction Project] was mostly a follow-up on its construction phases, the related inaugurations of these buildings, and the novelty of the plan for “art integration.” This led to interviews with the painters who participated and broad photographic coverage of the murals painted. The architects and visual artists of the period called it “integrated art” because it combined architectural design—interior and/or exterior spaces—with pictorial or sculptural decoration.