This article sets out to challenge the assumption that the pavilion plan hospital became an international standard by the late nineteenth century. This assumption is based on evidence of just a few, mainly British, state and military hospitals. Hospitals constructed by non-British European empires and those by North Americans in the colonised world have been excluded. Moreover, indigenous people in many parts of colonial territories encountered so-called Western biomedical services for the first time in Protestant mission hospitals rather than in state or military hospitals. The article examines several case hospitals built by the Church Missionary Society (cms) in north-western British India and offers a framework for analysing the architecture of Protestant mission hospitals that goes “beyond” a postcolonial approach. Drawing on conceptual tools offered by the field of the history of emotions, the article argues that the missionaries remade the pavilion plan and invented a new form, namely the Serai hospital, to gain local people’s “trust” and “affection”. This strategy was less about “pacifying” the patients and more about increasing their numbers. Indeed, medical missions were “emotional set-ups” that served to change the sensory relationship between missionaries and local people.
This special forum section of Emotions: History, Culture, Society moves forward scholarship on the history of the relationship between architecture and emotions. It specifically shows that while, on the face of it, talking about architecture and emotions appears anything but new, we still have a long way to go. In this introduction, I shall first provide a brief overview and critique of works such as Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception, Juhani Pallasmaa’s Eyes of the Skin, and Henri Lefebvre’s Production of Space, as well as literature on sites of massacres and commemoration, architecture and fear, and women and the city, to argue for an adequate and systematic engagement with the history of emotions and thus orient the reader and set the scene for what follows. I shall then outline this special forum’s contribution.