Faculty Mentor

Dr. Chau Kelly, Associate Professor

Faculty Mentor Department

Department of History

Associated Prize (or Other Information)

This paper won the 2020-2021 Undergraduate Writing Prize Department of History


The Topes de Collantes Sanatorium in Cuba was constructed during a time in medical history when it was commonly believed that a specific climate played a strong role in tuberculosis treatment. My research paper addresses how the so-called “Climate Cure” theory spread throughout the Western hemisphere and influenced the construction of sleek, modern tuberculosis sanatoriums. Previous research and scholarship have looked at major TB sanatoriums in Europe and the United States in depth, however, little has been looked at TB sanatoriums in smaller countries such as Cuba. I seek to fill in this gap of tuberculosis’ history by taking a close look at Cuba’s handling of tuberculosis with the Topes de Collantes Sanatorium as well as what similarities and differences that institution had with other medical facilities and theories abroad. My research will use architectural, medical, and political forms of analysis in looking at how and why the Topes de Collantes Sanatorium in Cuba came to be. Through this, I argue that the project of the Topes de Collantes Sanatorium took after the architecture of other sanatoriums abroad and by medical writings that advocate for the climatic treatment of tuberculosis. This historical argument and research is significant because it delves into why and how different countries, governments, architects, and medical professionals decided to tackle tuberculosis through a new take on modern architecture and an emphasis on the natural environment.