Affiliated Hospitals was a master plan concept for the consolidation of several older Harvard University hospitals. The original plan proposed a radical form for the bed towers--three monolithic cloverleaf shaped concrete shell structures supported by delicate concrete piers. Bands of elliptical windows gave the facade a rich texture. The towers were perched atop a an extensize three-story building which would serve to link all the buildings.
In the proposed patient towers, each floor was to be divided into four patient "villages" or clusters organized around a central core and support services. At the heart of each cluster was the nurse's station: the organization resulted from numerous studies by the architect and colleagues examining the pivotal role of the nurse in patient healing. The nurse/patient relationship was deemed to be central, and anchored this and all subsequent BGA hospital designs.
In 1971 two different approaches were considered for how the three main structures would be supported from the main base building. One approach featured shell structures, cantilevereed from their core. This became the solution used at Prentice Hospital in Chicago, designed at about the same time. The other approach carried the exterior walls down from the tower to the base building, and "ventilated" them with openings, giving an appearance of a "draped structure". This was the approach used at Providence Hospital in the 1980's.
Neither approach was used in Boston. As the plans progressed, the design was dramatically altered and the overall built projects were done as separate buildings, and as an assembly, lacked the potency of the original design concept. Nevertheless the planning for the Affiliated Hospitals served as the backdrop for the realization of a large re-trenchment of a number of medical activities around the Harvard Hospitals. As built, three separate buildings resulted: first was the Dana Cancer Center (1974), then the Brigham Hospital (1980), and finally the Biosciences Research Building (1984). A last building was proposed for ambulatory and outpatient care but was ultimately not designed by BGA.