Elaborately conceived, grandly built insane asylums—ranging in visual appeal from classical temples to Gothic castles—were as soon as a typical sight looming at the outskirts of yank cities and towns. lots of those structures have been razed in the past, and people who stay stand as grim reminders of a regularly merciless procedure. for far of the 19th century, even if, those asylums epitomized the commonly held trust between medical professionals and social reformers that madness used to be a curable illness and that environment—architecture in particular—was the best technique of treatment.
In The structure of Madness, Carla Yanni tells a compelling tale of healing layout, from America’s earliest purpose—built associations for the insane to the asylum development frenzy within the moment half the century. on the middle of Yanni’s inquiry is Dr. Thomas Kirkbride, a Pennsylvania-born Quaker, who within the 1840s devised a singular option to condo the mentally diseased that emphasised segregation via severity of affliction, ease of remedy and surveillance, and air flow. After the Civil struggle, American architects designed Kirkbride-plan hospitals around the country.
Before the top of the century, curiosity within the Kirkbride plan had all started to say no. a number of the asylums had deteriorated into human warehouses, strengthening arguments opposed to the monolithic buildings endorsed by way of Kirkbride. while, the clinical occupation all started embracing a extra neurological method of psychological illness that thought of structure as principally inappropriate to its treatment.
Generously illustrated, The structure of Madness is a clean and unique examine the yankee scientific establishment’s century-long preoccupation with healing structure with a purpose to healing social ills.
Carla Yanni is affiliate professor of paintings historical past at Rutgers collage and the writer of Nature’s Museums: Victorian technology and the structure of Display.