THE ST. LAWRENCE HOSPITAL FOR THE INSANE.

THE ST. LAWRENCE HOSPITAL FOR THE INSANE.

State Architect Isaac G. Perry planned the St. Lawrence State Hospital buildings on ideas suggested by medical experience, with a breadth of comprehension and a technical skill in combining adaptability, utility, and beauty that have accomplished wonders. The buildings are satisfactory in every particular to every one who has seen them, and even the most casual observer is impressed with the effect of beauty. This was accomplished without elaboration of material, expressive carving or finish. The ornamentation is purely structural and is obtained by a handling of the materials of construction which also yielded the largest promise of strength and durability.

The central hospital group, of which an idea is given in the cut, now consists of five buildings. The picture shows three, the center one and two of the flanking cottages on one side. They are matched on the other side. The central or administration building is a three story structure of Gouverneur marble, and, like all of the stone used, a native St. Lawrence county stone. The marble's bluish gray is relieved by sparkling crystallizations, and its unwrought blocks are handled with an ornamental effect in the piers, lintels, and arches, and well set off by a simple high-pitched slate roof, with terra-cotta hiprolls, crestings, and finials. The open porches are both ornamental and useful, taking the place of piazzas. The tower is embellished with a terra-cotta frieze. All accommodations for an executive staff for the 1,500 patients may be provided in this building.

Behind it on the south is a one story building whose ground plan is the segment of a circle. It contains sun rooms, medical offices, general library, laboratory and dispensary, and the corridor connecting the reception cottages, one for women, on one side, and one for men on the other, with the administration building. As this one story structure is 171 feet by 41, the buildings known as cottages of the central group are more than nominally separated. All the advantages of segregation and congregation are combined.

The reception cottages are of pale red Potsdam sandstone. Their simple construction is pleasing. The ground plan is in the form of a cross; the angles of the projections being flanked by heavy piers between which are recessed circular bays carried up to the attic and arched over in the gables. The cross plan affords abundant light to all the rooms, and as much of the irregular outline as possible is utilized with piazzas. With still another recourse to the combination corridor plan, the observation cottages are joined to the reception cottages on each side. The other utilization of the corridor in this case is for conservatories. The observation cottages are irregular in plan and vary from each other and from the other buildings in the group. Unwrought native bluestone is the building material. These cottages contain a preponderance of single rooms, the purpose being to keep patients separate until their classification is decided upon.

The buildings planned but not yet constructed of the central group include two cottages for convalescents and two one-story retreats for noisy and disturbed patients. In both cases the plans are the most complete and progressive ever made. In the first the degree of construction is reduced to the minimum. Convalescents are to have freedom from the irritations of hospital life that often retard recovery. Great reliance is placed upon that important element in treatment, the rousing of a hopeful feeling in the mind of the patient.

The retreat wards, with accommodations in each wing for eighteen patients, show in this particular how little the old method of strict confinement is to be employed in the new institution. That proportion of the total insane population of 1,500 is regarded as all that it is necessary to sequester to prevent the disturbance of the rest. Hollow walls, sleeping room windows opening into small areas, and corridor space between the several divisions are features which make the per capita cost of the construction comparatively large for these two cottages, but which, it is believed, will prove to be wise ones.

All of these buildings are as complete from a hospital standpoint as can possibly be devised. Outer walls wind and moisture proof, and inner walls of brick, with an absolutely protected air space between, insure strength and warmth. An interior wall finish of the hardest and most non-absorbent materials known for such uses is a valuable hygienic provision, and both safety and salubrity are further conserved by an absence of any hollow spaces between floors and ceilings, or in stud partitions. No vermin retreats, no harbors for rodents, no channels for flame exist. Heating is accomplished by indirect radiation with the steam supply from the power house, but there are many open fireplaces to add to the complete stack and flue system of ventilation.

Attached to the central group and completed are the kitchen building, the laundry building and a dwelling house for employes, which are so disposed in the rear of the group as to make a courtyard of value for the resort of patients, as the main buildings protect and shelter it. These buildings are ample for their work when the institution's full capacity is attained. The kitchen building is a particularly interesting one. All of the cooking is to be done there, and a system of subways, with tracks on which food cars are run, connects it with all of the groups. An idea of the magnitude of kitchen plans for such an institution may be got from one single fact. The pantry is a lofty room, 20x32 feet.

The calculation that 80 per cent. of the insane of the district would be in the chronic stages of the disease explains the provision in detached cottage groups for this proportion of the patients. A great proportion of these are feeble and helpless, requiring constant attendance night and day, but attendance that can be given cheaply and efficiently in associate day rooms, dining rooms and large dormitories. Detached group No. 1, which is completed, is an infirmary group for patients of both sexes of this class. It is chiefly one story in height, and the plan permits an abundance of sunlight and air for every room.