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Annmarie Adams

Annmarie Adams
Annmarie Adams in 2013.jpg
Annmarie Adams speaking at an IGSF event in February 2013
Born 1960
Fields Architectural History
History of Medicine
Women's Studies
Institutions McGill University
Alma mater University of California, Berkeley, MArch and PhD
McGill University, BA
Notable awards John K. Branner Travelling Fellowship from the University of California at Berkeley, 1985-86
E. McClung Fleming Fellowship in American Cultural, Social, and Intellectual History from the Winterthur Museum in 1991-92
Jason Hannah Medal from the Royal Society of Canada, 1999
William Dawson Scholar McGill University, 2000
Woman of Distinction Award from the YWCA, category Science and Technology, 2002
William C. Macdonald chair McGill University, 2005
Arcus Endowment Scholar-in-Residence Award from the College of Environmental Design, UC Berkeley, 2008

Annmarie Adams (born 1960) is an architectural historian and university professor. Currently she is the Chair of the Department of Social Studies of Medicine and is the former Director of the School of Architecture at McGill University. Adams specializes in healthcare architecture and gendered space. At McGill she teaches courses in architectural history and research methods.She is the inaugural holder of the Stevenson Chair in the History and Philosophy of Science, including Medicine.

Adams grew up in London, Ontario where she attended local elementary and high schools. She then studied at Neuchatel Junior College in Switzerland and at McGill University, earning an Honours degree in Art History in 1981. As a student she had a variety of jobs, including waitress, bank teller, and road construction worker on the rebuilding of the Alaska Highway. In 1982, she entered the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley, graduating in 1986 with a Master of Architecture. In 1985-86, as a recipient of the John K. Branner traveling scholarship, she traveled widely with two classmates, A. Melissa Harris and Cathy Schwabe, experiencing the architecture of Western Europe. Upon her return, she entered the Ph.D. program in Architecture at UC Berkeley, supervised by Dell Upton. Adams’ approach to architectural history was very much shaped by her education. As a McGill undergraduate she studied with Peter Collins, who encouraged her to become an architect; at UC Berkeley she was influenced by Upton, Spiro Kostof, and Paul Groth.



  • Contrary to the widely held belief that the home symbolized a refuge and safe haven to Victorians, Adams reveals that middle-class houses were actually considered poisonous and dangerous and explores the involvement of physicians in exposing "unhealthy" architecture and designing improved domestic environments.
  • Adams and Tancred examine the issue of gender and its relation to the larger dynamics of status and power. They argue that many women architects have reacted with ingenuity to the difficulties they have faced, making major innovations in practice and design.
  • Medicine by Design examines how hospital design influenced the development of twentieth-century medicine and demonstrates the importance of these specialized buildings in the history of architecture.
  • Contrary to the widely held belief that the home symbolized a refuge and safe haven to Victorians, Adams reveals that middle-class houses were actually considered poisonous and dangerous and explores the involvement of physicians in exposing "unhealthy" architecture and designing improved domestic environments.
  • Adams and Tancred examine the issue of gender and its relation to the larger dynamics of status and power. They argue that many women architects have reacted with ingenuity to the difficulties they have faced, making major innovations in practice and design.
  • Medicine by Design examines how hospital design influenced the development of twentieth-century medicine and demonstrates the importance of these specialized buildings in the history of architecture.
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