Annmarie Adams

Prof. Annmarie Adams addresses the St. James Literary Society, 22 March 2016 (Peter Gossage)Prof. Annmarie Adams addresses the St. James Literary Society, 22 March 2016 (Peter Gossage)Stevenson Chair in the History and Philosophy of Science, including Medicine
BA (McG.), MArch, PhD (UC Berkeley)

Tel: (514) 398-6706
annmarie [dot] adams [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Email)



ARCH 627 - Research Methods for Arch (Fall 2016)

ARCH 653 - Arch Hist & Theory Seminar 3. (Winter 2017)
PDF icon ARCH 653 Syllabus


Major research interests

  • history of hospital architecture
  • longterm care institutions
  • medical museums
  • material culture
  • cultural landscape studies
  • vernacular architecture
  • gender, sexuality and space
  • innovative research methods


Recent Publications

“Canadian hospital architecture: how we got here,” Canadian Medical Association Journal (January 2016)

PDF icon “Architecture that Breathes,” Harvard Design Magazine 40 (S/S 2015), 14-19




PDFs of selected publications


Dr. Annmarie Adams is jointly appointed in the School of Architecture and the Faculty of Medicine.  She holds the Stevenson Chair in the History and Philosophy of Science, including Medicine.  She is currently Chair of the Department of Social Studies of Medicine in McGill’s Faculty of Medicine.

Adams has written, co-written, and co-edited five books, including Architecture in the Family Way: Doctors, Houses, and Women, 1870-1900 (McGill-Queens University Press, 1996), Medicine by Design:  The Architect and the Modern Hospital, 1893-1943 (University of Minnesota Press, 2008), Designing Women: Gender and the Architectural Profession (University of Toronto Press, 2000), with sociologist Peta Tancred, and two volumes of Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture.

Focusing on the cultural landscapes of houses and hospitals, she is particularly interested in the intersections of architecture and medicine.  She is currently working on a spatial biography of physician Maude Abbott, an overview of surgical environments, a study of Wilder Penfield’s architectural aspirations, and a critical study on Scottish-born architect Ramsay Traquair.

Her research has garnered numerous awards, including the Christophe Pierre Award for Research Excellence, the Jason Hannah Medal from the Royal Society of Canada, a CIHR Health Career Award, and a YWCA Woman of Distinction prize.  She has held research funds from CIHR, the Hannah Institute for the History of Medicine, SSHRC, Heritage Canada, and the Australian Research Council.  She is a board member of the Vernacular Architecture Forum and Winterthur Portfolio. At McGill University she is involved in a project to revive the university’s medical museum and is a devotee (and member of the Board of Curators) of the Osler Library. In 2015, she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.

Adams’ current Masters and PhD students are working on a range of topics exploring the social and cultural power of architecture:  architecture for mental health, children’s playgrounds, Residential Schools, benevolent institutions for women in Montreal, modernist dollhouses, World War II German bunkers, Montreal’s bridges, the public lives of women artists, demolition in Montreal, and new housing for Nunavut.


Reflections on the process of writing:  The McGill Writing Centre.