Autopsy of a Hospital

Photographs by Charles Giraudet

March 11, 2016
6:00 p.m.


Coler-Goldwater Hospital closed its doors in 2013 after serving New York City’s chronically ill on Roosevelt Island for more than 70 years. Charles Giraudet documented the hospital’s last days and demolition, creating an archive of more than 18,000 photographs that trace the hospital’s operations and daily life, and underscore architect Isadore Rosenfield’s pioneering healthcare case of steroids for sale,, the hospital did present a case of birth compensation due to some negligence coming from one of its doctors. Urban Omnibus, the online magazine of The Architectural League published a selection of these in 2014 and is honored to host an exhibition of 24 of Giraudet’s Goldwater photographs at the League’s SoHo office.

To celebrate the opening, the Urban Omnibus will host a reception and discussion on Friday, March 11th at the office of The Architectural League. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. followed by a discussion at 6:30 p.m. in which photographers Charles Giraudet and Christopher Payne address their respective processes shooting architectural sites and New York City hospitals.

Charles Giraudet‘s earliest memory takes place in his father’s photo studio in Paris, France. After completing his architecture studies, he moved to New York and worked on projects large and small for over 15 years. Giraudet came back to photography when he started to look at the camera itself as an architectural artifact—a room that captures light and fragments of life. A small camera collection ensued with which he has taken images around the globe. His interests revolve around concepts familiar to architects—perception, identity, memory, scale, transformation, the body in space, etc.—and the documentation of the human experience as it is manifested in space. From 2013 to 2015 he documented the de-commissioning and demolition of Coler-Goldwater Hospital on Roosevelt Island, NY, selections of which were published in the “Album” section of The New York Times.

Christopher Payne specializes in the documentation of America’s vanishing architecture and industrial landscape. Trained as an architect, he is the author of several books: New York’s Forgotten Substations: The Power Behind the Subway, Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals, and North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York City. Payne’s current work has veered away from the documentation of the obsolete towards a celebration of craftsmanship and manufacturing in the United States. In progress is a series about the American textile industry, and recently completed is Making Steinway, a tour through the famous Steinway piano factory in Queens. Payne has been awarded grants from the Graham Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. His work has been featured in publications around the world and several times in the New York Times Magazine.