Quarantine Stations and Lazarettos: Histories of Architecture and Public Health

David Monteyne

Award: 2023 Project Grant

Quarantine – or spatial segregation – was one of the first and only solutions for public health prior to the late 19th century. The quarantine of groups suspected of carrying diseases began to be formalized in the late medieval Mediterranean. These early public health policies and practices immediately led to the requirement for quarantine spaces: if, along with the sick, disease suspects were to be kept separate from healthy citizens, where would this occur? Thus, the first permanent and purpose-built quarantine stations – called lazarettos – appeared by the mid-1400s. From these beginnings, quarantine architecture evolved globally over the subsequent five centuries, spreading from the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean and the American and Australasian colonies. At each moment and location, quarantine architecture reflected and helped form public health policy and medical intervention. In David’s research, he surveys the architectural, medical, and social history of quarantine as the policy and practice spread around the world.