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The Imperfect Health: The Medicalization of Architecture

Date uploaded: March 14, 2012

The Imperfect Health: The Medicalization of Architecture

The Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), Montréal, announces the launch of the book related to its current exhibition, Imperfect Health: The Medicalization of Architecture, as well as an online TV channel.

Produced by the CCA and Lars Müller Publishers, the book, in French and English editions, bears the same title as the exhibition. Edited by exhibition curators Giovanna Borasi (Curator of Contemporary Architecture, CCA), and Mirko Zardini (Chief Curator and Director, CCA), it includes essays by leading academics Margaret Campbell, Nan Ellin, David Gissen, Carla C. Keirns, Linda Pollak, Hilary Sample, Sarah Schrank, and Deane Simpson.

The book investigates the historical connections between health, design and the environment, bringing to light uncertainties and contradictions in cultures informed by Western medicine. Within this framework, the essays it contains reflect on themes such as the relationship between the built environment and human health; pollution; modernism and hygiene; planning strategies for dealing with urban disease; the challenges of the urban environment on health; the relationship between physical health and the built environment; urban design in an ageing society; and the impact of sun on health.

The book opens with an essay by Giovanna Borasi and Mirko Zardini entitled "Demedicalize Architecture," in which the authors assert that health is "the number one priority" and preoccupation of our eroding society. The pair suggests that a "demedicalization process" might allow the discipline of architecture to escape the ambiguity and morals of contemporary ideas of health, and shift from a curative role to one of caring for its inhabitants.

This thesis is explored in the Imperfect Health book, microsite, public programming and upcoming e-book, along with the exhibition.

A new initiative in conjunction with Lars Müller, the upcoming e-book Imperfect Health: The Medicalization of Architecture will be the CCA's first full-length digital book. The e-book will contain the content of the printed version, including full color images, text, and original layouts, and will be available in French and English.

Imperfect Health TV (imperfecthealth.tv) complements the exhibition as well as the physical and electronic versions of the book and presents over 20 hours of footage from the project's research phase.

Imperfect Health: The Medicalization of Architecture shows how architecture and urban spaces can acknowledge, incorporate, and even affect contemporary health issues. Through a wide range of materials including photographs, publications, art and design projects alongside architectural models and drawings, the exhibition questions common understandings of "good" and "bad" in an environment of continually evolving and often contradictory conceptions about health and disease.

Press launch:
Montréal: 15 March 2012, CCA Bookstore – by invitation only, 11 am

Public launches:
Montréal: 15 March 2012, CCA Bookstore, 7 pm
Toronto: 21 March 2012, Evergreen Brick Works, 7 pm             

The CCA is an international research centre and museum founded in 1979 on the conviction that architecture is a public concern. Based on its extensive Collection, the CCA is a leading voice in advancing knowledge, promoting public understanding, and widening thought and debate on architecture, its history, theory, practice, and role in society.

The CCA gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Ministère de la Culture, des Communications et de la Condition féminine, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts de Montréal, the Department of Canadian Heritage. Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts and Hydro-Québec.

The research phase of the project was developed in collaboration with i2a, International Institute of Architecture, Vico Morcote, Switzerland.

Visit www.cca.qc.ca/imperfectbook

The Imperfect Health: The Medicalization of Architecture

The Imperfect Health: The Medicalization of Architecture