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In the past, mental illness was stigmatised due to the difficulty encountered in managing it. This meant that the only options available for the treatment of mental illness were brutal management and isolation from the rest of the community involving institutionalisation, physical restraint and shock treatment. Proper institutional care for the insane was only properly implemented in the UK in the late eighteenth century as a result of the example of the physician William Tuke and the Quaker religious movement.2 However, physical restraint was often used and conditions in asylums remained appalling. Asylum care only began to improve in the nineteenth century when local authorities were encouraged to build public mental hospitals and supervise private ones. Mental hospitals were the main source of care for the mentally ill well into the twentieth century. This situation changed when the emphasis and purpose of mental health care adjusted in the western world from containing and controlling the mentally ill to encouraging healing in a therapeutic environment as a result of drug and psychiatric innovations. In 1930, the Mental Treatment Act led to the establishment of community psychiatric clinics to provide an alternative to hospitalisation and, in 1948, UK mental hospitals came under the authority of the National Health Service (NHS).3 These examples show that there was a growing realisation that mental health service users could benefit from gaining a degree of independence. However, the 2 Tulchinsky, T.H., & Vara-

abandonment of the old mental hospitals has been criticised on the

vikova, E.A., (2009). The new

basis that this change divides patients into ‘real’ and ‘pseudo’ users

public health, 2nd ed., London:

as community care has become more common.4 This indicates that


therapeutic innovations could be of real use in terms of treating and curing mental illness rather than merely containing and con-

3 Ibid.

trolling those with mental health problems.

4 Crysikou, E., (2014). Architec-

ture for psychiatric environments and

increasingly common in recent years. During the latter half of

therapeutic spaces. Washington

the twentieth century, the asylum structure began to be perceived

D.C.: IOS Press.

as limiting recovery with the therapeutic communities offered by

A greater emphasis on therapeutic innovations has become

hospitals being seen as a preferable alternative.5 This has been the 5 Wilson, S., (2012). Thera-

case for healthcare provision in general. For example, Maggie’s

peutic communities in mental

Centres across the UK and the Commonwealth have been designed

hospitals. The International Jour-

to provide respite care for cancer patients in a pleasant and com-

nal of Therapeutic Communities 33

fortable atmosphere to aid the recovery process. The architecture

(1), pp.55-70.

of Maggie’s Centre’s facilitates the recovery process by creating an


Profile for Andreas Haliman

Architecture Dissertation - The Modern Asylum  

Architecture Dissertation - The Modern Asylum