< Abstract >
Thesis Question: What is the future of psychiatric hospitals and how will the design of contemporary ‘healing environments’ have an impact on the recovery of patients?
” This research looks at the architecture and design of modern psychiatric units, considering how the architecture of UK asylums and psychiatric hospitals has developed throughout history, with a view to considering how architecture can be used to create the optimum healing environment. To achieve this, the research will explore how the history of mental health establishments in the UK has influenced the design of modern psychiatric hospitals, review the architecture of modern psychiatric hospitals in order to assess how these designs facilitate healing and establish a healing environment, and finally, it will assess the effect therapeutic innovations in the design of psychiatric hospitals have on the mental health of individuals undergoing treatment for mental health problems. It was found that revolutions in the treatment of mental illness, including the eighteenth and nineteenth century moral treatment and non-restraint movements led to the creation of asylum buildings with more space for communal activities within tranquil grounds. These innovations influenced modern psychiatric hospital design in regards to emphasis on communal living and the provision of gardens and courtyards. However, it was found that multisensory therapy, although beneficial for the treatment of mental illness, has, as of yet had little influence on the design of modern UK psychiatric units. This will be discussed in more detail in the dissertation.