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Contents Page 1


Page 124

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Psychosis & Schizophrenia

Page 5

Disrupting The Sense Of Self

Page 7 Project 1: Assembling the Derailed

Page 34 Psychology of Architecture

Page 41 Buildings to evoke or crush the psyche

Page 46 Steps Forward

Page 52 Portrayal of Mental Illness in Film

Page 63 Film & Architecture

Page 68 Project 2: Reconstructing In Rehabilitation

Page 126 Bibliography


The aim of this piece of design research is to determine how people


who suffer from schizophrenia and psychosis experience architecture differently and how this can be incorporated into the design process to help aid or allow them to lead a comfortable life in regards to their interactions with the surrounding architecture. Design specifically catering to the mental illness of schizophrenia is not over common. Furthermore to this I will be using a filmic methodology incorporated into the architectural design to test any theories or research in my design projects. I hope to combine both the research and design process to create a design that is original and effective. I believe in doing this I will be developing a solution to design for schizophrenia sufferers that has yet to be conceived and could potentially be much more effective. To achieve this I shall first research into the mental illness itself then onto the psychology of architecture in regards to people who suffer from schizophrenia finishing with the benefit of film in the design process. I shall conduct design projects and analyse the results to test any research made; helping to inform my final conclusion.

Psychosis and Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a mental health condition, often long term, affecting every one in a hundred people during their lifetime within the United Kingdom (NHS Evidence, 2010). It is categorised through various symptoms including disordered thinking, hallucinations, delusions and changes in behaviour.


“One of the defining characteristics of Schizophrenia is disordered thinking” (Bernheim, Lewine, 1979. p.22) in which the patient may have difficulty concentrating on anything for a prolonged period of time or arranging thoughts towards a relevant goal. Their thoughts may travel off in different directions or down different trains of thought, “It is as if thinking gets waylaid, leading forever down divergent paths and either failing to get to the point quickly or going beyond it” (Bernheim, Lewine, 1979. p.27). People who suffer from schizophrenia often have trouble blocking out external interferences or disturbances when trying to concentrate or learn new information. They may be able to perform perfectly well on a single task given or singular question asked of them, however when presented with more than one task simultaneously they may struggle as ideas, tasks or questions become muddled, intertwined and confused. They may go blank in the middle of a sentence as if their thoughts were blocked and then continue on an unrelated topic: This may also lead to repetition as they keep blanking and having to repeat themselves. Unrelated thoughts may also appear to be connected within their mind purely due to the

timing of the thoughts springing into mind concurrently. The most commonly experienced schizophrenic symptom is social withdrawal; in more extreme cases the person may refuse to communicate at all on any level and not even leave his or her room or space of comfort. As they become more withdrawn, a schizophrenic person may move further into a dream like fantasy world which will progressively replace reality. This process tends to be less immediate and become gradually noticeable over time. Following their withdrawal they may also become disinterested with such things as personal hygiene or work and studies. The schizophrenic person may suffer from delusions in which they misinterpret or incorrectly read in to stimuli, often to paranoid ends. They may have incorrect ‘ideas of reference’ where they would watch a television program or hear a song on the radio, believing it to be concerning them, or maybe believe their work colleagues are all talking about them behind their back. These delusions are not based on proof or evidence and are such, irrational. They are also believed with absolute conviction with all new stimuli somehow being focused around the subject of the original delusion, adding evidence and proof in their minds: “You can’t tell your own intense thoughts, ideas, perceptions and imaginings from reality” (NHS Evidence, 2010). Hallucinations can be visual, smelt or heard with the later often culminating in any number of voices, again often paranoid or negative. They may feel things that aren’t there; such as

a burning sensation of fire or insects crawling over them for example. People suffering from these hallucinations may not be aware that they do not correlate with reality. When they can appreciate that what they see or hear is not real they can, for the most part, suppress these manifestations. Some however are unable to distinguish these fictitious sensory apparitions instead remaining controlled by the internal voices commanding them. Positive symptoms of schizophrenia, for example delusions and hallucinations, are labelled as such as they add characteristics to the patient that were not previously inherent to their personality; With negatively labelled symptoms conversely showing a reduction or diminishment of the patient’s personality, thoughts, or functions. Some examples of negative symptoms are a lack of interest, avoidance of people or emotional dullness. Common public misconception is that schizophrenia is actually a split personality condition where as in fact “It would be more accurate to say that people with schizophrenia have a mind that can experience episodes of dysfunction and disorder” (NHS Evidence, 2010). According to Freud; illnesses of this kind can be linked back to a previous traumatic even that is responsible for the current patient’s symptoms as “the memory of the trauma acts like a foreign body which long after its entry must continue to be regarded as an agent that is still at work” (Freud, 1895, p. 9). The events tend to be external stimuli to the patient and can sometimes consist of a “number of partial

The other term I wish to address is psychosis, which is used to describe the condition in which a person has difficulty differentiating between their imagination and reality, often again suffering from delusions and hallucinations. Rather than a mental health condition, as is schizophrenia, psychosis is in fact a symptom arising following other conditions, such as Bipolar Disorder and schizophrenia. Psychosis itself is an “acute condition that, if treated, can often lead to a full recovery” (NHS Evidence, 2010). One increasing more often diagnosed cause of psychosis, due to progression of

medical knowledge, is Organic Brain syndrome in which the psychosis may have been caused by an organic disease or a tumour of the brain. I feel it important to make a distinction between the two as it my first design projectAssembling the Derailed- I design a series of spaces with which I attempt to induce psychosis on the user, the user being of sound mind and not a schizophrenia patient. The distinction is important as the goal is to induce some of the symptoms temporarily on the user, not the condition of schizophrenia. Sufferers from schizophrenia are subject to a diminished ‘sense of self’. The ‘sense of self’, in accordance with Schizophrenia And The Fate Of The Self (Lysaker, 2008. p.21) is defined as “how one’s being is disclosed to oneself”. This comprises both physical and mental attributes; from how a person sees themselves socially to how the mind maps the extents of the human body; determining where we end and our surroundings begin. People who suffer from schizophrenia can stop seeing themselves as being the central character to their life. They can stop feeling they are the protagonist to their own story but instead become, in their own minds, “nothing more than an amorphous disturbance” (Lysaker, 2008. p.29) to others surrounding them. Minkowski (1987, cited in Lysaker, 2008. p31) says of a Schizophrenic patient that “although he knows where he is, he does not feel as if he is in that place… the term “I exist” has no real meaning for him”they become detached from reality and drift through life as if not a part of the being they are. Freud (1924. p.3) writes that if the condition of schizophrenia is untreated and left to augment

then the patient is “inclined to end in affective hebetude- that is, in a loss of all participation in the external world”. We as human beings “live as an ensemble of dialogues… we are thus more than atomistic entity” (Lysaker, 2008. p.43) and schizophrenic patients can try and remove themselves from this dialogical word through paranoia and delusion and rely on their internal dialogue to replace external interaction. According to dialogical theory someone with ‘sound mind’ develops a sense of self via positioning of their internal dialogues. Within all of us we have various different dialogues and self positions. For example, when we go shopping our self as a customer takes control or when we are delayed at a train station our self as a commuter and sense of frustration arise. “One gains a sense of self when individually identifiable aspects or voices, termed ‘self positions’, converse with one another, and without ever collapsing into one, over arching position” (Lysaker, 2008. p.45). A ‘normal’ person’s internal dialogues constantly shift with the hierarchy of control continually changing with no one single dialogue in control, so a person is never either continually paranoid or intensely aggravated for example. The schizophrenic patient may suffer from a difficulty to position oneself within these dialogues or be overwhelmed by one or more particular reoccurring possibly negative dialogue.


traumas forming a group of provoking causes” (Freud, 1895, p. 8). There is often disproportion between the reoccurring symptoms and the event or events that are responsible for causing them with the symptoms being a much more inflated extreme response to the event than the cause itself. The symptoms are determined or shaped “(in a manner that excludes deliberate action) by details of the traumatic effects of the experiences” (Freud, 1895, p. 9). Freud found that the “psychical process which originally took place must be repeated as vividly as possible; it must be brought back to its status nascendi and then given verbal utterance” (Freud, 1895, p. 9) and when the patient experiences the event in its fullness they can vividly relive it and overcome it. However the patient often has difficulty reliving the event; this may be due to an unwillingness to remember or the fact that patient has subconsciously blocked the incident from memory and has been “withdrawn from everyday consciousness” (Freud, 1913, p. 1) or even that they are unaware that this incident was the cause of their psychosis.

Fig 1 Three Forms of Diminished Self Experience Model




An inflexible dominance of one or two positions, which leads to implausible interpretations Fear that everything he experiences of self and world and a repetitive life narrative belongs to a plot to kill him


Undeveloped, mostly discontinuous self positions, which lead to a fragmented life narrative Sense of being adrift and unable to change populated by few meta-positions and limited descriptions of the world their own circumstances

Cacophonous An often rapid and chaotic succession of self positions, which leads to an incoherent life narrative filled with abstract generalizations FIG 1 (Lysaker, 2008. p.90)

Fig 1 displays patterns of schizophrenia in relation to ‘sense of self’ and internal narratives and how these dialogues reflect their external symptoms. If a person has one or two strong over whelming internal dialogues they may become paranoid, being fed information from the single controlling self or they may have many chaotic uncontrollable voices which my disorientate their perceptions of reality and make them seem cryptic outsiders.


So in summation people with this condition become detached from reality and from the people surrounding them. They have a “sense of themselves as broken, even absorbed by their own mental illness” (Lysaker, 2008. p.43) and as a result retreat into and distance themselves. They are alienated by themselves and othersor so they believe- and their ‘sense of self

becomes’ weakened and inaccurate. Their fading sense of self and connections with reality can also alter their perceptions of surroundings as well as the people surrounding them.

Cryptic and temporarily jumbled self presentations

This experiment has been previously performed on schizophrenic patients, who have responded more strongly that the other normal test subjects (Young, 2011). These results further reinforce the fact that schizophrenia sufferers have a weakened sense of self and a “weaker or more flexible sense of body ownership than usual” (Young, 2011). This experiment performed on a schizophrenic can even have such a strong effect that it has been recorded (Young, 2011) to induce out of body experiences or even episodes of psychosis.

The experiment involves the participant placing their own physical hand in a concealed box, out of their line of view, which is open to the person conducting the experiment. A rubber hand is then placed in view on the surface next to the participant’s concealed hand. The hand must be positioned within a set distance of roughly 75mm, and it is worth noting that the patient is well aware the hand is a fake as the aim of the experiment is not to trick the mind through the realism of the prosthetic limb. A point on the prosthetic hand is stroked in sync with the same point on the participant’s real hand which still remains out of view. The owner of the hand begins to believe that they ‘own’ the artificial limb and thus the sense of self and the mind’s mapping of the body is warped. Following this; if the rubber hand is threatened with a dangerous object, such as a knife, the participant can be measurably noticed to react in fear as if it really was an appendage of theirs that was being threatened (Young, 2011).

This experiment is not alone, there is a myriad of others that also alter the mind’s perception of the extents of the body and in turn twist, distort and weaken one’s sense of self. These other experiments range from inducing the feeling of gaining a third arm to transporting the mind into the body of a mannequin.

necessarily a strong and concrete feeling as we may prefer to believe it is. The sense of self can be distorted and warped by various factors or experiences they we may undergo; that have been recorded in various medical transcripts. One such perception altering experience, named the ‘Rubber Hand Experiment’ (Young, 2011), serves to test our sense of self:

This approach interests me; as if the most detrimental and purposely negative spaces could be designed that would intentionally induce and thereafter exacerbate a feeling of psychosis, then couldn’t this be used as method for then reverse engineering a space that was devoid of all of these negative elements? Furthermore if someone of sound mind could experience these same feelings and changes in perception that a schizophrenic patient undergoes and encounters daily then couldn’t this information be used to help aid in study, treatment and design for schizophrenia patients?

One of these experiments has the potential to attack and weaken the sense of self of a schizophrenic person and induce an episode of psychosis; and although the effect of these experiments is decreased on someone of sound mind, they still have a similar yet lessened outcome. So what if they experiments where experienced, by a ‘sane person’, one after the other in series? It stands to reason that the accumulative effects of a collection of these different experiments may be enough to induce a feeling, sense of or even episode of psychosis onto the sound minded participant. Furthermore if the experiments were housed within spaces that elevated a feeling of unease and tension then this may serve to amplify any feelings of psychosis experienced by the users within.


Disrupting the Sense of Self

The sense of self, even for someone of ‘sound mind’, is not


Project 1: Assembling the Derailed

The following project is designed to implement these theories and queries: The project brief I

have defined is to design a series of rooms that house this collection of experiments intended to distort and unhinge. Each experimental room houses a particular experiment and is designed to help amplify the effects of that test on the mind of the user. After each experimental room is a transitional space that follows containing a trial of sorts that is intended to magnify the effects of the previously experienced experiment of the room preceding. There are five experiment rooms in total and a transitional room for each, as well as an entrance and exit space to the overall experience.

which provide a “rich set of analogies to the time and space nature of architecture” (Bernard Tschumi Architects, 1976). The space is to be designed as a character moves through scenes in a film. The spaces will be experienced by a single user at a time, with surveillance and assistance from someone who will administer tests and directions. The following is a fictional narrative of someone experiencing the project from start to finish.


The rooms are to be visited one after the other in series as a progression of the overall experience, eventually culminating in the induction of an episode of psychosis on the user. Due to this a storyboard methodology documenting, with vignette like images, each of the rooms was used to design the spaces. The spaces are to be experienced as scenes in a film; they are to be atmospherics and experienced singularly in sequence. The nature of architecture is to respond to actions, events and programs connected to the building and the sequences of a screenplay deal with these same elements. A screenplay deals with progression through a space over time and transition from one space to another through “Flashbacks, crosscutting, jump cuts, dissolves and other editing devices”

Abandoned Lobby

The participant enters the building off of a busy city street. He

finds himself in a dark dusty entrance lobby with a single elevator door in front of him. No one is behind the reception, and he notices an old brass bell sat on the desk. He rings it. He hears a crackling overhead. He hears a voice. “Please step into the elevator to begin�. Okay, he thinks, no secretary today obviously.


He presses the elevator button which flickers and glows a dull orange. The lift takes a second and then a grinding and whirring sound becomes louder. The lift door opens with a groan. The internal light flickers into life to illuminate the inside. He hesitantly steps inside and presses the only button on the internal wall. The doors close and the lights flicker off. The lift grinds to a halt and the doors shudder open as if years of dirt and grime in the tracks has made them sticky and slow. He steps out of the lift into the room beyond.


Limb Exchange

The user enters the first of the test areas. The space is badly lit and

still. A damp, dank smell greats him as he walk further into the room. The aged painted walls are peeling and the floor appears unwashed and unkempt; the room feels as is it has been left to stand. And rot. Along one of the decrepit walls, a scratched and smeared window sits centrally. In front of the glass sits a well worn uncomfortable looking chair. The room is otherwise empty apart from a door opposite the glass and the door he used to enter the room. He is instructed to move towards the glass window and sit down into the chair. As he approaches the window he notices the reinforcement in the mesh and the smears and dirt on the surface: The remnants of people previously experiencing the room maybe, as they felt their way around the space or perhaps protested whoever may have stood on the other side of that window. It is clear that the room opposite is secure from the user, and not to be reached. As he moves towards the window he notices a rusted metal shutter below it. The shutter slides with a dry rusted screech and when slid to the side reveals a hole just big enough for someone to place their hand inside.


The user sits down on the chair. He is instructed to insert his hand through the hole in the wall in front of him. He does so and his hand disappears from view into the room beyond. He is no longer in direct control of the surrounding of his limb. A figure appears behind the glass; he is wearing a lab coat stained grey and faded and holding a pair of brushes in his hand. He lifts a panel that reveals what looks like a rubber

hand, in the position the user imagines is, just a few centimetres to the left of his own hand. He proceeds to stroke the fake hand and the users on corresponding finger in sync. The user starts to feel like the hand in view is his own. The mind creates a physical link between the hand and the extent of their body limits. The man on the other side of the glass then produces a knife and brings it towards the rubber hand, the user feels threatened and treats the limb as if it was one of their own. He quickly withdraws his hand from the hole and notices the fake hand remain. His mind quickly realises the obvious truth of the experiment. The user is instructed to head towards the second door in the room and exit.



Rubber Hand Experiment

1. User inserts hand into wall opening

3. Panel is lifted to reveal rubber hand


2. Fake Hand into visible compartment

Rubber Hand Experiment pt. 2 6. User’s hand is obscured from view 5. Rubber hand is visible to user


4. User’s hand and synthetic hand are stroked at same point in sync



Contact Trial

The next room the user is greeted by is the first transition

room. This room serves to further distort the

patients’ sense of self and will play on the events in the previous room. This is the first in the series of rooms that exist between the experiments, with these rooms being design to further increase the feelings of psychosis within the user. The user expects something surreal when in the position of the experiments due to their implied nature. However the transition rooms are intended to catch the user off guard. This corridor space finishes with a rotting door at one end, with the walls of the space punctured with small holes also just large enough for a hand to be inserted. When stepping into the room the user is instructed that to progress they must find a key for the door and the key is placed within one of the holes. The user starts to put their hand in each hole, feeling for the key. Each different hole is lined with a different material giving each hole a different feel and texture. The first hole tried is cold and shiny, like a polished stone. The second is warmer and more abrasive like a roughly sawn timber. The third he can only think must be some form of rusted metal. He finds the key after exploring eight of the wall recesses and uses it to unlock the door and progress to the next room.


The patient has to use their hand to hunt for an object out of view, this expands on the previous experiment and heightens the user’s fear of the unknown. They are unaware of where there hand is as before but instead of being able to see into the void they are placing their hand as before they are not now.


Limb Adoption

The second test room is intended to make the test subject believe they have gained another limb in the form of a new left arm.

The user approaches the intentionally intimidating operating table, into which he is strapped to. The extra synthetic limb is then wheeled up to him, and a cloth is draped over his shoulder and the end of the prosthetic limb; the only prerequisite of the experiment is that the user cannot see the imaginary implied joining point where the limb would be attached to their body.


The same methodology to the previous experiment is then undergone in which the user has corresponding fingers on both their hand and the artificial hand stroked in sync. However in this instance, since he is able to see both his own hand and the prosthetic the mind believes that it has gained an extra duplicate limb: The “illusion is the result of the brain’s attempts to resolve conflicting sets of information” as it feels the hand being stroked but can see the fake hand also being stroked, “the brain sorts out this apparent mismatch by accepting both arms”. The user will then respond measurably when the extra limb in threatened, as before. The new limb is then forcibly removed from the patient and he is sent out of the test room into the next bridge between spaces.


Coordination Trial

Following gaining and loosing an extra arm, the user then continues

his journey into the next transition room. As he steps into the short corridor space he notices many keys of different sizes, shapes and materiality suspended in the room via thin threads.


The aesthetic of the room follows the visual theme of the rooms experienced previously and as he looks down he sees a locked metal container on the floor of the space. At that moment he hears the audio instructions for this new trial and is told that to progress he has to find the correct key for the metal container which houses the key to unlock the decaying door at the end of the room. He is able to lift the metal box and try each within the lock. As he grabs each key in mid air he challenges his coordination and constantly altering perception of his mind’s map of the body, also with each catch of a key he feels the materiality and texture of the different objects. After trying all the keys he realises that none of the keys open the box; he feels frustrated and cheated and maybe a little trapped and claustrophobic. He decides to try the door anyway and discovers it was unlocked from the start. He is released from the temporary imprisonment and continues into the next test room beyond.


Movement Trial

The user’s coordination is further put to the test on the stairwell from

the third to the second floor. The user has previously been manipulated into believing he was in possession of a third leg in the third test room (not pictured), which was promptly removed again as before. The stair further serves to disorientate his state by jarring his coordination skills. As the user walks down the steps, various risers are at different heights which jog him. The balustrade has a rough textured area at the point where the risers are altered, so as the user tries to catch his balance and grabs the handrail he notices a change in material compared to when he began his descent at the start of the flight. At the bottom of the flight the balustrade is heated to 20 degrees above the normal temperature for a similar disorientating effect at the same point as another unequal riser. The stairwell is open to the next experimental room below, so as the user peers into the room whilst his descent, less attention is given to the treads of the steps so a more intense jarring occurs.


Finally the last step of the flight is in fact painted on the floor to appear from the user’s perspective as a step with a shadow. The feeling is similar to that of travelling down stairs in the dark and imagining there was one more step than reality.


Image Projection

The user reaches the end of the stairs and a ramp down into a hole in

the floor with another chair with an old looking video camera aimed at it. The hole is brightly lit with large film set lights from above. The user moves past the camera and sits down on the chair, which he notices is the same one or if not certainly the same style as the chair from the earlier room. The man in the grey coat emerges from a side door and walks towards the chair; he plugs some kind of cable into the camera and gives the other end to the user. This turns out to be a pair of video goggles which he is instructed to put on. He places the goggles over his eyes as they are activated, he can quite clearly see the view from the camera through the goggles which turns out to be his back as he sits on the chair. The man in the grey lab coat then produces the same pair of brushes as previous experiments. He strokes a part of the man’s back and the same point in the air a few feet behind him. The user is bind folded, made to stand away from the chair and then asked to return to his original position. He actually returns to a space a few feet ahead of the position where he was seated; this is the position that the experiment has made the mind feel his own projected self is. (Young, 2011)


He is asked to pass through the door into the next transitional space.


Orientation Trial

As the user enters the next room he is greeted by a mass

of hanging dirty sheets of material, hung at irregular angles from random points about the space. He takes a few steps in further and stops; a projected image appears before him on the first sheet. The image is of the view oh behind him he saw when he was in the previous experiment. He spins around but there is nothing, no camera, behind him. He moves forward and pushes the fabric out of his way. He is unable to travel directly through the space and is forced to find a route through the maze of hanging materials, at points even having to crawl on hands and knees. He reaches a point where he can no longer see the door he entered the space or how to exit. Another projection suddenly appears in front of him, he turns around again with a start. No camera. He moves on forward, increasing his speed.


He reaches another two further projections as he pushes through the space, each forcing him to react in the same way. He eventually reaches the door which signifies the end of the room and wastes no time in turning the handle and moving into the space beyond.


Body Exchange

This time he is met by a crumbling concrete bridge, with

rusted disintegrating iron hand rails on either side. He can hear the noise of trickling water passing below and the space feels decidedly damp: He can already feel the moisture collecting on his face. Stood on the bridge before him is a mannequin, old and stained with some form of head set around the point where his eyes would be.

the grey man had disappeared and all that was left was the mannequin. He moved past the mannequin, taking special care to remain as far as he could from it as he walked past it. He heaved on the large set of old decaying double wooden doors, which opened with a creak and a grind. He pushed forward.


The voice manifests again from the overhead speakers. “Put the head set on and someone will be with you shortly to assist.” He noticed, connected to the other end of the wire running from the dummy’s head set, was another. He stooped down to pick it up and placed it on his head. He then heard the unmistakable footsteps of the grey man. He always appeared to further torment and make this place worse. The man switched something on his head set and it flickered into life. He could see ahead of himself, but felt as if he had moved. This was not where he had been standing. And was that? Yes it was the chest of the mannequin he could see where his should be. The grey man came into view and began to stroke his chest and the mannequin’s, or was that his chest? He was now experiencing some form of out of body experience and felt like he had jumped across the room into the body of a mannequin. When the body of the mannequin was threatened the user reacted; his “anxiety manifested itself as sweat, a thin layer of moisture on the surface of his skin that improved its ability to conduct a small current” (Young, 2011). With that the images on his goggles switch off. He took off the head set and


Navigation Trial

The user is presented with a humongous room full of mannequins

on raised platforms, with an audience of them watching him from the sides of the space.

As he moves through the space he has to pass through a forest of dummies weaving in and out of the figures. Once the end of the platform is reached he must climb the ladder to the next level. The running of the water can be heard below the rickety platforms. The mannequins were focussed on him. The noises from the water and his own feet inferring with his senses. He picks up his speed, he tries to push through the figures but they are fixed to ground and solid. He reaches another ladder and climbs it. He gets to the door and tries the handle. It spins in it’s socket and does nothing. He sees a crack in the door and feels a wisp, a breath of fresh air seep through it. He tries the handle again more forcibly. He bangs the door. He gets his shoulder against it and forces it. The door breaks open and he stumbles out into the alley behind the building. He strides down the alley way, and breaks into a run.


He reaches a road. Not the same road he began on. He doesn’t recognise it. He doesn’t care. He calls a cab and jumps inside.


Project Analysis

The design of Assembling the Derailed has allowed for me to

implement the research made into sense of self and psychosis: I have begun to test how the atmospherics of a space coupled with experiences housed within maybe used to distort the mind of the user. The panoramic method of design, making the project storyboard like in nature, creates a narrative through the architecture as a film does through spaces. Actually designing the spaces through these singular images is a method I will expand on and develop after implementing in the design of my following project.


The aim of this project is to temporarily unhinge the mind of the user; however it does so in a very obviously ‘Hollywood horror’ method through peeling wallpaper paper, claustrophobic environments and various other methods. The aim was to design the worst possible architecture in an attempt to reverse engineer an architecture that would not be detrimental to someone of ill mental health; to design something that man will respond to as since the conditions of the space are “contrary to his nature and to the basic requirements for human growth, he cannot help reacting” (Fromm, 1955, p.19). However the design elements are obviously detrimental and would probably not be used in design anyway. Therefore a knowledge of the psychology of architecture, and more specifically the psychology of architecture in terms of the effect it has on schizophrenia patients, maybe more useful in determining more commonly used architectural elements that may be positive for schizophrenia patients on a daily basis.

Psychology of Architecture

The psychology of architecture as a subject assesses and attempts

to quantify how we perceive our environment through various factors in the design of space. It is a broad and complex subject so my intention is, rather than give a general and undoubtedly vague over view, to instead highlight key concepts that correlate with someone who suffers from schizophrenia. I will then review literature on designing for people with mental health disorders and discuss the relevance towards a schizophrenia patient.


For the most part our environments can be divided into two distinct functions and types: The first are ‘affordances’ which are “objects that demand action” (Golembiewski, 2012b. p.2). The second are ‘behavioural spaces’ which are spaces with inherent coding which demands inhibition. Where as ‘behavioural spaces’ instil control, ‘affordances’ create excitement. ‘Affordances’ are usually housed within behavioural spaces and therefore the use of them is governed by the rules that apply to the space. For example a pipe organ demands the action of being played, but when housed within a church the past knowledge of the scenario inhibits us from playing it as that action is juxtaposed to the normal etiquette we associate with a church. For the most part these two effects are on equal levels, cancelling each other out, but when the excitement surpasses the inhibition the person in forced to react whether it being a laugh or a smile or screaming and running away in panic. This ability to

balance the excitement of an object against the inhibition of its surroundings is decreased with less developed frontal lobes as “environment demands increase with the decline of frontal brain function” (Golembiewski, 2012b. p.2). This is why children often act inappropriately in a social situation as they have either not yet experienced the space and the correct etiquette or they have less developed frontal lobes. One of the conditions of schizophrenia is that they tend to have poor functioning frontal lobes. Because of this a schizophrenic mind may chose to act when seeing an object without restraint; they would run down the isle of the full church and attempt to play the pipe organ. The restraining part of the brain does not function aptly. As previously stated a schizophrenic may have difficulty with more than one task or piece of information. According to Canter (1974. p.41) “a person’s attention span is severely limited usually to only about six discrete entities” which would affect how a person of sound mind remembers a space or reflects on it. An overly visually complicated aesthetic or difficult layout would make it difficult for the average person to recall the environment and possibly struggle to memorise the layout. So if a ‘normal mind’ would struggle to accurately recall more than 6 discrete entities then the schizophrenic mind- which we know to have a more restricted attention span- may find this feeling greatly exaggerated. What may be considered a slightly confusing or jumbled layout or design may be elevated many times in their mind and may cause confusion and frustration. Schizophrenic patients suffer from a reduced synaptic elasticity which “affects learning, spatial

cognition, information and logic handling and other cognitive functions” (Golembiewski, 2012a. p.15). Therefore spatial arrangement is even more important and a complicated layout in terms of building navigation must be avoided, and a more simplistic aesthetical layout adopted. That’s not to say everything should be bland and whitewashed, as a “reduced environment causes hallucinations, delusions, confusion, the impairment of organised thinking, oppression and depression, even for healthy people” (Golembiewski, 2010. p.112). However overtly convoluted perspectives should still be navigated around and the correct balance found. Furthermore patients would find it hard to concentrate if they are constantly bombarded with complex visual stimuli, resulting in loss of train of thought and the like. The progression through spaces should be logical and signposted with memorable objects and functions for the schizophrenic mind to create attachment to. Also avoid the “use of curved pathways, long corridors and non-vertical walls, and CCTV which may also be reflexively taken as negative” (Golembiewski, 2012a. p.15). It is widely believed that perception is dysfunctional with psychosis and “changing the finishes does not change the way things are perceived” (Golembiewski, 2012a. p.15) as a door painted green is still a door. “People act on opportunity not on the colour of a wall” (Golembiewski, 2012a. p.6). In the psychology of buildings in relationship to someone of sound mind, colour makes a big impact on our perception with for example “when a person is exposed to the colour red dramatic psychological effects maybe observed” (Popow, 2000, p.1).

Furthermore someone who has a wide knowledge of or can entertain multiple view points on a subject is labelled as being more cognitively complex in that area than someone who has limited or singular viewpoint on the idea. A person who is more cognitively complex would be more capable of dealing with new knowledge that may conflict with their views. Someone less cognitively complex may struggle to take on board new information that is

contradictory to their existing view and reject it or allow it to shift their opinion entirely. For this purpose, schizophrenics would be labelled less cognitively complex, as they struggle to have multiple coherent views simultaneously so presumably new information would impact their perceptions more than someone with sound mind who experiences many spaces through their life. Therefore it stands to reason that new experiences of architecture would alter perceptions of their surrounds and space more so than the average human. So following this logic the theory of the ‘elementary contrast effect’ (Canter, 1974. p.28) would have a greater impact and effectiveness on the average schizophrenia sufferer than comparatively someone of sound mind. The ‘elementary contrast effect’ occurs when “the previous experience has somehow changed your perceptions” (Canter, 1974. p.28) making you perceive the following event differently to how you would if you had encountered it in isolation of previous experiences. For example if a more pleasing space is designed to lead into an unpleasant room; if the user passes through the enjoyable space first then the second less pleasing space will seem much worse than if they had visited the lesser space in isolation: Their perceptions have been previously altered so the space appears worse than it is. This would obviously work in contrast if the worse room is experienced before the pleasing space; we would enjoy the latter room better as our perceptions would have been initially lowered. Theoretically this would have more of an impact on a schizophrenic patient. However studies have shown that schizophrenia patients react

nearly conversely to how normal perception of space takes place. For instance a normal person, in a negative space, would have equal levels of inhibition and activation where as they would show a bias towards a more enjoyable space. The schizophrenic mind would show a strong bias for the negative image and indifference to the nice image. Throughout our life we use past experiences and memories to perceive the world and space around us. For example, when we see a table, we know that it is a rectangular table, even when seeing it in perspective and the table top is a trapezoid shape from where we stand. This is because we have already experienced a table, we know what a table is and our mind fills in the extra information given to it from past memories Fig 2. “It seems the perception of space is based, in the main, upon the use of cues that are normally associated with distance in our daily life” (Canter, 1974. p.39). We reference past memories of scale and perspective in terms of parallel lines and right angles and judge the size of objects and spaces accordingly. The fact that schizophrenic patients may have delusion, hallucinatory or slightly distorted memories from which to drawn from, may alter they perceptions of space as the mind pieces memories together.


However in relation to a schizophrenic patient, a simple change of colour of a space will make little difference as “the relationship between a psychotic state and the colour of a wall is very obscure indeed” (Golembiewski, 2012a. p.15). A schizophrenic patient tends to suffer from ‘bottom-up’ perceptual deficiencies and ‘topdown’ attention surpluses: What this means is that the bottom-up deficiencies may make the schizophrenic mind not notice and ignore such stimuli as colour, pattern and design elements, where as the top-down surplus may make the “mechanism that brings things to attention because they are anticipated become over sensitive” (Golembiewski, 2012a. p.9) which basically means that things are only noticed by the schizophrenic if they are feeding into their delusions. They may miss obvious things that would stand out to a normal person, yet put special significance on a particular object as they have created an attachment between that object and their paranoia. Golembiewski argues “this combination exacerbates persecutory or grandiose delusions because patients will overvalue unimportant, but expected details and dismiss significant but contrary evidence” (2012a. p.15).

Fig 2




(Canter, 1974. p39)

Following reading on Gestalt psychology I found that it is believed that the “mind is wired to seek meaning and significance in all the sensory information inputted into it” (Popow, 2000. p.2): This means for example people tend to arrange seemingly random information such as in Fig 3 in which the mind is predisposed to sort the random collection of dots and lines into relevant groupings and make correlation where there is none. “The mind seeks to organise data when faced with random unknown visual information” (Popow, 2000. p.2) and seeks to find properties of regularity, continuity and symmetry in configurations. If these properties are not inherent within the set of stimuli the mind will perceive as if they are, as they will be “superimposed upon any configuration with which we are presented” (Canter, 1974. p.34). A schizophrenic patient who experiences the symptom of delusionary thinking and having incorrect ‘ideas of reference’ can see significance in patterns where there is none. Where as someone of sound mind may see various random signals or stimuli and may subconsciously arrange them in an attempt to psychologically justify the information, the schizophrenic may undergo the initial stage of information rationalising but then follow this by attributing inaccurate and unfounded

validation to the rationalisation. This rationale may involve a plot to harm the patient, spelled out to them in someway, a message that they are a secret special agent caught up in a government conspiracy or some other often negative message. It is also important to note that the schizophrenic sufferer will believe their delusions concretely where as “we will generally change ours when new information comes our way” (Bernheim, Lewine, 1979. p.31). Due to this need for rationalisation and following delusionary thinking undergone in the mind of a schizophrenia patient, seemingly random sensor information such as confusing patterning and visual layouts should be avoided in design for schizophrenia. A fictional recreation effectively illustrating this idea entitled Yellow Wallpaper (Perkins Gillman, 1892) is a short story in which a women in confined to a room in her house that is decorated in a yellow patterned wallpaper. Soon she begins to imagine the dark formless shape of a woman behind the pattern of the wallpaper, who starts to materialise into a stronger more vivid character. The woman moves around, all the while remaining behind the pattern, giving the women inside the room no safe zone. The figure attempts to enter the room by bursting through the pattern, which serves the purpose of keeping her disconnected from the space. This demonstrates (although fictionally) an example of the above argument; the woman begins to obsess over small details, and orders the pattern into a form of information that isn’t present. As well as conforming to the delusionary and hallucinatory symptoms of schizophrenia the story also describes Freudian psychological projection in which people

subconsciously project their attributes onto an external entity which could be an object or person and believe them to originate from that entity. In this case the story can be interpreted as the main character in the story longing to escape the constraints of her life as the women behind the pattern is already free and is trying to break into the ‘jail’ of a room. Therefore the women inside the room is projecting her want for freedom and autonomy onto the apparition behind the wallpaper.


Conversely if one wanted, for whatever reason, to design a space intentionally disorientated one could use this knowledge to their advantage. Adjusting the scale of architectural elements that are easily recognisable or changing angles to interfere with perspective could twist someone’s view of the space and make for a potentially unpleasant environment.

Fig 3 38

(Canter, 1974. p34)

would help with mental rehabilitation. The schizophrenic mind reacts worst to suggested messages it picks up from the surrounding environment. These either feed into delusions or create new ones. These messages can be from such sources as store front writing; ‘the black cat inn’ for example or from non-verbal omens such as stray dogs, graffiti or ladders. The highest collection of these messages is in urban environments and because of this a much higher percentage of the population in urban environments suffers from cases of schizophrenia. Therefore a rural lifestyle is considered to be the best for a schizophrenic sufferer but this is not always possible. However schizophrenia sufferers are often found asleep in doorways or wandering around busy twenty four seven hour locations in metropolises as possibly “the frenetic action of the inner city may provide comfort, much as others need quiet and security” (Golembiewski, 2012a. p.8). But whilst on the subject of symbolism and rural lifestyle, one more important point to note is the importance of the symbolism and effect of nature. Studies have show that planting within existing mental health institutions greatly decreases acts of a negative nature such as vandalism or aggression and threatening behaviour. The image of a tree, and even better, the touch, feel and sound of a tree has a positive and calming effect on the mind of the schizophrenic patient. This is an example of how symbolism and association can be used for positive effect rather than just feeding into delusions. One of the most important positiveeffect-giving experiences, and also one of the more difficult to quantify, is the inclusion of

beauty in architectural design. Schizophrenics will notice design elements and buildings more when there is an inclusion of beauty i.e. “the response to unintended delight is one of the most profound atrophies in schizophrenia and one, what’s more, that is currently untreatable using pharmacological interventions” (Golembiewski, 2012a. p.17). Another key, yet similar, area to consider with design in relation to schizophrenia is the typology of the designs. The typology of a building being how the function of it is defined by its appearance. Special care must be taken to ensure that design elements within a care home or institution must not be labelled with the visual stigma of a negative building type. These negative building types consist of schools, hospitals, prisons and mental health care institutions themselves just to name a few. This takes more attention and precision when considering the schizophrenic mind as the connections and attachments they apply may be more abstract and less obvious to the normal mind. One of the main problems with mental health care institutions is in generalisation of rooms, in which some patients require more secure environments to avoid self harm, so this is applied all over. The furniture in a room is bolted down and the lights, room temperature and blinds are controlled externally possibly by a nurses station. For some extreme cases this is obviously necessary and I’m not suggesting that the patients or staff be put in harms way but “even healthy people start having hallucinatory


Another subject to discuss when considering spatial design for psychosis is the occupation of space of which Canter (1974. p.113) observes is not always as expected and “many architects are surprised to find that the arrangements which seem obvious to them do not actually occur”. On reading results recorded from analysis of public movement throughout various London underground stations and Japanese stations Canter concludes that people do not tend to “wait in the place that is most functionally appropriate” (1974. p110) but instead arrange themselves according to other contributing factors. The people in the station tended to culminate around the pillars within or around the peripheries of the space. Their self positioning seemed to be governed by a set of loose rules, being that they were in a position they could see and monitor their surroundings adequately at a point that was out of the flow of pedestrian traffic and where they were not too obvious. This is also true to restaurants where people’s preference on seating is also on the tables on the periphery of the space. These were obviously large open public spaces not more intimate rooms catering to the mentally ill. This shows that the central open grand sociable space is not always inhabited in the way imagined by the designer. The fact that particular schizophrenic patients may have a tendency to withdraw into themselves and escape from public and social interactions as much as possible should be considered at this point. If there was a method in which the above results could be used to design space in which a patient would feel safe adhering to the above rules then this could possibly encourage social interaction and dialogical interaction which

and delusional experiences when opportunities to act are taken away from them” (Golembiewski, 2012a. p.17). The basic customisation and control of space is a change that could benefit the patient. By the simple addition of movable furniture and control over the light and heat, provisions could be made to allow them to do all this without it becoming dangerous. This is a very basic step and the customisation of the environment is an avenue I shall be exploring in greater depth in my design work later. Inclusion of social spaces which develop, evolve and are customisable by the patients could also benefit as a rich environment helps improve the problems of synaptic atrophy. Interaction with surfaces could help familiarisation and valuing of the environment increase. Golembiewski suggests that “walls would come alive with washable crayons and licence to scribble” (2012a. p.15) and even though some patients may chose to write negative delusionary material on the wall, it may prevent these negative feelings from being expressed in a more dangerous outlet. Since schizophrenia patients respond most to the contents of space rather than the aesthetics, a clever use of design must be employed to create environments where decisions and choices need to be made yet the patients are not confused. As Golembiewski notes “environments that enable choice may fortify sense of self” (2012a. p.17).


So what examples of buildings that offer these experiences and choices already exist and how effective are they at achieving their goals?

we have a drink we don’t have to consciously bring the glass to our lips and open our mouth, it is done without thinking. These routine movements and actions become ingrained into us after the process has been experienced a few times. It is actions that demand decisions and mental creativity in their execution that develop sense of self. However in our daily life we undergo so many automatic actions; even the nation’s favourite hobby of sitting in front of the telly encourages passivity. To develop a sense of self we have to overcome new actions or make conscious decisions. What if architecture forced us into this? What if negotiating you house everyday intellectually tested you? The Reversible Destiny Lofts in Tokyo (Fig 4) seeks to do this. It seeks to challenge the occupier both mentally and physically everyday with such challenges as uneven floors, irregular exits, brightly coloured rooms and power outlet points at hard to reach places (Fig 5). The building is actually designed to offset the onset of dementia with the rationale being that the user will have to challenge and stimulate themselves daily living in the environment and therefore become stronger as a result, preventing deterioration into later life by keeping the mind and body active now.

This design is a preventative measure for the currently healthy minded individual and judging by the images and information I have researched I believe this particular design might be ineffective for a schizophrenia patient. But if the principles could be harnessed then this could be an effective design route to pursue in the recovery from schizophrenia. Another interesting case study that apposes my intentions and instead exacerbates psychosis is The Boston Government Service Centre by Paul Rudolph. The service centre houses a government psychiatric facility and although designed with good intensions it does more bad than good to the ‘ill mind’ as it “puts demands upon the individual user that not every psyche will be able to meet” (Koh, 2010, p.2). The building was intended by the architect to “create a landscape that would reflect the interior mental states of inmates suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia or schizophrenia”. This he believed would “sooth those who dwell in it by reflecting the insanity they feel within” (Koh, 2010, p.2). Rather than making the inhabitants feel at ease with their surroundings by mirroring what he believed to be their internal mental strife, his rather romanticized view of mental illness lead Rudolph to design something much worse, prompting one successful and many other attempted suicides. In his attempt to recreate the hallucinogenic or delusional minds of the insane within the structure of the building he used seemingly never ending corridors, twisting stairways occasionally leading nowhere and the same bush-hammered concrete on every surface

inside and out. The front of the building begs the symbolic comparison to a possibly unpleasant face (Fig 6), which of course could be taken very negatively by a delusional patient. The materiality of the walls lead to the patients having difficulty orientating themselves due to the constant repetition but also, Matthew Durmont, a Boston psychiatrist notes that patients “generally like to tap a corridor wall as they walk down it as a way of assuring themselves… … But if you try to touch the wall of a corridor at Lindemann as you walk, your knuckles are likely to be bloodied” (Koh, 2010, p.3). The building actively discourages interactions with the environment (Fig 7). The building basically uses every design principle that I have previously discovered to be detrimental to the inhabitation of a building by schizophrenics. It makes it difficult to find ones way with no real symbolic direction, disorientating textures and layouts and even uses dead ended corridors. The suicide mentioned previously took place soon after the building’s opening in the chapel of the building on a concrete slab alter as a patient set himself on fire. A psychiatrist working previously at the centre noted that he was “just following cues in his environment” the space looked like it “should be used for human sacrifice” (Koh, 2010, p.3). So the building whilst attempting to be beneficial for the mentally ill is in fact the opposite. This is basically a case study of the results of (unintentional) negative design and very clearly documents the wrong design principles to use and what goes wrong when they are employed.


Buildings to evoke or crush the psyche

Everyday we perform certain actions automatically, as when

Fig 4 42

Reversible destiny lofts, Tokyo, Arakawa + Gins [Image available online]


Fig 5 Reversible destiny lofts, Tokyo, Arakawa + Gins [Image available online]

Fig 6 44

Boston Government service centre [Image available online]


Fig 7 Boston Government service centre [Image available online]

Steps Forward

The theory of Salutongenisis is

an approach to healing first defined by Aaron Antonovsky, in which the focus is placed on factors that support human wellbeing and health in an attempt to aid recovery rather than the convention of focus on the causes of illnesses and disease. This theory observes factors other than medicine and care in the speed of recovery such as the surrounding of the patient and the architecture they inhabit.


In relation to how well we handle and cope with stress, our daily performance, is governed by our sense of coherence. Stress becomes too much for the individual or causes them harm when it attacks your sense of coherence. The level of someone’s sense of coherence controls the level of stress they feel with a stronger sense of coherence (SOC) making an individual less likely to become stressed and feel tension. On the whole someone’s SOC can be seen to remain constant unless radical changes to their environment or to their lifestyle occur. Someone’s sense of coherence is comprised of three characteristics: Comprehensibility: Is the individuals’ ability to understand events within their life and whether these events occur in an orderly

fashion allowing them to predict, to a reasonable degree, the events of the future.

Manageability: The knowledge and self confidence that you have the ability and skill set or support by others to manage and undertake the events connected to you that transpire.

Meaningfulness: Considered by Antonovsky

to be the most important factor; is the feeling that objects and experiences within the life of the individual are interesting and satisfying enough to reinforce a sense of belief that things are worth caring about: The feeling that there is purpose enough and reason enough to care about what happens within our life.

Comprehensibility: making sure that

perceptual cues are present to assist perceptual processes. These include attention to texture and materiality, controlling the size of spaces and the numbers of patients and expressing environmental features in a normal way.

Manageability: that is allowances for patients

to exercise control of the environment, details such as opening windows and the provision of ADL (activities of daily living) and sporting facilities.

Meaningfulness: enriching the environment with complexity, order and aesthetic considerations as well as providing good spaces for visitors special personal belongings and possibly even for pets. (Golembiewski, 2010. p.114)


The schizophrenic patient may have a weaker and less defined sense of coherence. It may be more easily affected by the environment and in a more delicate balance with their surroundings. More care would need to be taken in not tipping the balance when designing a space to house their recovery. Golembiewski translates these above factors into the realm of architectural design in terms of the mentally ill, with particular reference to schizophrenic patients:

The previous factors are a set of guidelines to adhere to and acknowledge

when designing for the mentally ill; and when coupled with the considerations outlined in previous chapters we can begin to define a set of rules to inform design.


So firstly, how do you make a space comprehensible to the mind of a schizophrenia sufferer? How do you make environments predictable, logical and easily navigated or memorised to people who may struggle to absorb or notice conventional visual cues? Well to begin the use of materials that are not easily definable or are ambiguous should be avoided and care should be taken to make objects and areas “look, sound and feel like whatever they are” (Golembiewski, 2010. p.106). The use of and interaction with a space should be easily defined through observation and there should be no spatial ambiguity. However at the same time the symbolism of the institutional rooms would need to be avoided and instead they “should have charm and personality and should be the functional equivalent of a home” (Golembiewski, 2010. p.106). Abrupt removal from patient’s past lives and great changes in lifestyle will weaken the SOC, a space that they can relate to and understand will make their experiences far more enjoyable. “Meaning is so easily found in nature” (Golembiewski, 2010. p.112) and natural materials such as wood have an instantly easily recognisable texture and materiality to them which not only allows the patient to comprehend the building material but also the texture helps with textural perspective which helps them to understand the space as a whole. The use of objects with horizontal

courses such as brick help to assist with linear perspective as well as such surfaces as tiled floors; brick being another instantly recognisable building material along with natural stones etc. As previously stated we perceive objects through past experiences and memories of these objects; we associate and attribute a sense of scale with and to previously encountered objects. Therefore the inclusion of accurately scaled objects, such as various familiarly designed items of furniture, fittings decorations etc, helps the schizophrenic user to gain a sense of scale and coherence. Furthermore larger open spaces may not be an ideal implementation of design as “the distortion caused by size perspective can be limited by keeping spaces small and to comfortable proportions” (Golembiewski, 2010. p.105). “The human body is biologically predisposed into recognizing design and structure” (Popow, 2000, p.2) out of what surrounds us, the mind has a “preference towards architectural details, to regular patterns and symmetrical design” (Popow, 2000, p.2); the mind must organise and rationalise the environment and in doing so Popow argues that architecture may “fulfil man’s craving for meaning” (2000 p.1). So in this vein can architecture be not used to strengthen the moral and reason for being within the mind of the schizophrenic? However if symmetrical and seemingly ordered architecture can help to strengthen meaning and purpose then “does this conversely imply that random design empty walls, little colour, no pattern be judged as nonpreferable or even ugly?” (Popow, 2000, p.2). A space may become confusing or detrimental

if there is too much inherent chaotic design, and this becomes even more detrimental to the mind of the schizophrenic. However if the design has an order that can be arrived at then perhaps a design of ordered chaos could be used to stimulate the mind of a patient to a certain amount whilst not tipping the balance over the edge. To aid memorisation of layouts marker objects can be placed at key locations to help patients find their way through complex layouts. But ideally complex layouts should be avoided when designing from the ground up, routes should be colour coded and direct and just make sense. All corridors should lead to a definite location with no ambiguity. The manageability of a space or the amount of control a patient feels they have over a space can obviously make a patient feel confined and restricted and of course can make the fact that they are institutionalised seem very apparent. A patient must be safe from harm, from themselves and others, but provisions should be included to allow them to live a normal autonomistic where possible. “It should be very easy to maintain personal hygiene and for a patient to clean up if mistakes are made” (Golembiewski, 2010. p.110) which gives the patient more of a feeling of control of their own life: One of the problems with current mental health care institutions is that “personal privacy is minimal” (Rosenhan, 1973, p.9) with “freedom of movement restricted” (Rosenhan, 1973, p.9) with nurses being able to instantly gain access to patients rooms and belongings with no warning or explanation and

ADL (activities of daily living) facilities are important again to not remove the patient too far from their previous life as to not jar them, but the inclusion of these facilities also keeps the individual connected to reality and everyday life. As since the withdrawal from reality and life is common for the schizophrenic patient, it is important they remain connected to the activities of every day and these facilities maybe part of the tether that does this. Such facilities as kitchens are to be kept central and open, with free access by patients, however for obvious reasons; danger zones such as ovens or knife drawers must retain restricted access. But other such facilities such as the ability to do laundry, to bath and contact through telephone should be granted access to also. I would also add another seemingly simple suggestion that I would argue may be beneficial and that I believe Golembiewski and others have over looked. Why not make provisions for the inclusion of small private gardening areas for patients? Small green spaces connected to the rooms of a patient that they become solely responsible for. These spaces need only be small; however I would suggest a small adjoining terrace space. It has already been found that nature and greenery is soothing and therapeutic for a patient whilst also helping them maintain their hold on reality. But other

than the obvious benefits, of the human beings positive attachments to nature, if the patient were to be responsible for tending the plants they could be the ones that directly affect their intermediate environment and observe how their actions affect their surroundings. They could bring other patients and family in to show off their small gardens and would have a small area to reflect and relax. With some patients the planting may be neglected and die of course, but for the patients that bother to put the time in they could see a positive outcome from their work and could chose to grow and maintain the garden how they with. They could personalise their own private garden. The third, and according to Antonovsky, most important factor is meaningfulness of which Golembiewski argues “is fostered through environmental richness” (2010. p.112). The goal of design and inhabitable spaces in this category is through various means to help “remind the patient that there is meaning in life; be it love, desire, friendship of something else more pertinent” (Golembiewski, 2010. p.114). How do you remind someone that life is worth living and that if they retreat into themselves they will lose connects with all that the world has to give through architecture? Well simple adjustments to their living spaces can be employed; they can be encouraged to bring photographs of things or people that bear a special importance to them as well as spaces and facilities for friends and family to visit and stay. People strive to feel united with one another without losing their individuality and according to Fromm love is the only way to do this as “love is union with somebody, something, outside oneself, under

the condition of retaining the separateness and integrity of one’s own self” (1955, p. 30): Connection with loved ones or things held dear must be retained and strengthened. Animals are often very therapeutic also as “relationships with pets are often of more significance to the mentally ill than relationships with other humans and are important stepping stones for re-establishing human relationships” (Golembiewski, 2010. p.111). So the inclusion of housing for pets and animals, such as bird houses or cages or housing for other small household pets, within the rooms could be a very beneficial addition, helping the patients to then reconnect with people (as long as the pets weren’t to interfere with the comfort of other patients). Another difficulty with people being treated within an institution is that they can become depersonalized and absorbed into the system and seen as another treatable case rather than a person. All actions undertaken within the environment thus become ‘crazy’ as “given that a patient is in the hospital, he must be psychologically disturbed” (Rosenhan, 1973, p.5) and therefore everything he does is a result of this. People also are programmed to respond to this environment, this insane space; if they reside in a crazy environment and constantly defined as insane then they may react and alter their actions to seem crazy “not because the craziness resides within them, as it were, but because they are responding to a bizarre setting” (Rosenhan, 1973, p.11). If an architecture could be employed that brought back and encouraged individuality and uniqueness to the patient


such violations of privacy existing as the “water closets having no doors” (Rosenhan, 1973, p.9). As previously mention taking measures to allow patients to control the light, temperature and possible music playing within their own environments are positive inclusions.

allowing them to be seen as “interesting individuals rather than diagnostic entities” (Rosenhan, 1973, p.10) again then perhaps they would be able to pull themselves out of their regression and become stronger willed and more concrete in reality again. If spaces were allowed to take on the individuality of the inhabitant it would strengthen their connection to them whilst in turn giving the space purpose as “spaces need to be occuppied by people for some time in order to absorb meaning and identity” (Topp, Morgan, Andrews, 2005, p.306) so allowing the customization and development of a space by the inhabitant would only serve to strengthen their connection to it and reality.


Can the architecture itself be used to remind a patient there is meaning in life? Can the design of the building be beautiful enough to evoke joy and happiness? Spaces should be “exceptionally generous in the way they are decorated and finished” (Golembiewski, 2010. p.112) as long as they do not become over crowed and confusing to the eye. The beauty and symbolism within nature can be used to provide aesthetical and general design inspiration. As stated before the most healing element of design and the most difficult to achieve due the subjectivity of it is beauty and “when patients’ expectations are exceeded they will feel a sense of ease” (Golembiewski, 2010. p.112). However according to Popow psychologically speaking “light is the most effective element in creating a sense of mystery and awe” (2000, p.1) so implementing the use of light in effective and inspiring ways will be imperative.

It has been found that “a multisensory environment that is rich in complexity has been linked to improvements” (Golembiewski, 2010. p.112) in patients, so perhaps the adoption of principles found with the design of the Reversible Destiny Lofts could be a positive step forward? “Meaning is fostered through environmental richness” (Golembiewski, 2010. p.112) and so an environment like the Reversible Destiny Lofts that’s asks of the inhabitant to navigate certain challenges could be beneficial. The uneven floors and other more extreme disorientating elements of the lofts perhaps should be left out but the idea of a space engages with the patients and forces them to interact in new interesting ways could help. As long as patients can perform important tasks without too much stress and the correct level of difficulty of navigation can be achieved then the space could be successful in the aiding of recovery. So if you were to combine the theories and research of Golembiewski and the other theorists and psychologists I have researched with the design strategies and theories behind the Reversible Destiny Lofts could a design be determined that through interaction with environment reinforce and strengthen the position of the minds of schizophrenic patients back into in reality. A building where spaces and parts of areas remain hidden unless accessed correctly, where the whole of the building doesn’t just give itself up immediately: A building where the user works to be rewarded, where they are tested and challenged throughout their everyday life to accomplish simple tasks.

Simple everyday obstacles to overcome such as; finding a door in front of them with 10 handles: Each of the handles is a different colour, texture, size and shape. Only one of the handles is connected to the lever system that opens the door and will allow entrance to the space beyond. The user is forced to touch and turn each handle until they discover the correct one; they feel the texture and weight of each handle and the temperature of each materiality. They eventually gain access to the room, and if they wish to enter again, they are forced to remember the correct handle or undertake the task again. This kind of little interaction tests the user, keeping the mind active and engaged with their environment, it disengages the autopilot of everyday activities. Yet it doesn’t distress, the process isn’t disturbing; anyone can gain access to room beyond with a small amount of perseverance and in order to exit the space there would be a single hand so they would not feel trapped and frustrated within. If people could be tested with trails as in Assembling the Derailed, only more subtlety and without the intention of exacerbating their conditions, then their mental strength can be built up daily during their basic interactions with their environments. Why not also go a step further and allow patients to interact, customise and construct the layouts of certain parts of their surroundings. The power over their immediate environment would be helpful and strengthening to them. The positioning of rooms throughout a movable grid system or something on a smaller scale such as sliding adjustable walls to alter the room’s layouts could be interesting and engaging. Also along the lines of room customisation,

provisions for the rooms to mimic some aspect of the patient’s personality could help with connecting with a space and control of space. What if the patients had a series of private rooms that they could progress through, as a narrative, that start by reflecting their initial mental state and then progress through the spaces which become less altered until they reach a normal sate? The initial room could represent a form of psychological projection of their inner torment and as they leave the rooms behind they could be distancing themselves from their illness. The patient could also be in control of the room layout and positioning and could therefore chose and control how quick or slow the transition manifests itself.

helpfully monitor any interactions within as “buildings undoubtedly determine and effect much of social interactions” (Topp, Morgan, Andrews, 2005, p.306). To test this methodology and see how people might customise and inhabit such a space, characters would need to be inserted into the spaces to fuel and influence the design process. An avenue to draw characters from could be film that accurately depicts the subject matter; the symptoms and actions of someone with a mental illness.


The social spaces should be beautiful and engaging and allow for intimate or larger levels of interaction, but the ideal sized group for interactions is between 5 and 6 people: The typical size of the ideal family unit, the nuclear family. Any larger and the larger number of different social interactions could be detrimental to the patients, as large day rooms are “well known for exacerbating psychotic symptoms” (Golembiewski, 2010. p.109). The spaces shouldn’t be too large as to create disorientation and should allow the patients to separate themselves from the group or congregate on the peripheries of the space. Smaller enclosed areas which allow a smaller group or individuals to retire from the central social area could be designed as; these spaces could be acoustically separated and private enough whilst still maintaining a level of observation by the staff and this space could

Portrayal of Mental Illness in Film

Movies and film are a media that,

like architecture, is widely experienced and influential to the masses. Film is influential and immediately accessible to most, even more accessible than architecture, I would argue. Which I believe is odd, as architecture affects us more day to day then any other design practice, including film.

Film has the ability to affect how we perceive and understand certain groups of people. It has the ability to foster and nurture fear towards groups, such as the mentally ill, by possibly inaccurately depicting them or placing a ‘Hollywood spin’ on an illness: Which makes for an interesting movie but perhaps an unnecessary attachment of stigma onto an undeserving selection of the public. When sensitively written and constructed films can depict an accurate representation of the struggles that the mentally ill, such as schizophrenic patients, undergo because of their illness. And more beneficially to this study, they can represent an accurate interaction with a schizophrenia patients’ surrounding environment and architecture. Film can show an interaction with internal spaces and everyday objects in a way that line drawings and static visualisations cannot necessarily.


I have chosen to study a selection of films over the course of this project for use in relation to my final design project. I have used film for inspiration in terms of characters for design, as described above, film can portray interesting and realistic characters and these characters can

in turn be used as a vehicle to design a project around. I have also used film for location, as with my final project, I have reconstructed the location of Spider’s halfway care home (as mentioned below). The use of film in creating location is interesting as film can create a seemingly constant and tangible environment by composing shots to make landscapes appear next to each other when they could be miles apart. Using film for location therefore allows the inspiration of these fictional landscapes and determining how the location would work in reality. Inspiration for narratives is another interesting benefit of using films for a basis of a design project, such as a character’s narrative or progression through space or something more extreme such as a disaster or end of world scenario defined by film which could be interesting to design and research into. The films from which I have drawn inspiration over the course of my design are as follows:

Spider First and foremost there is Spider (2002),

a film by David Cronenburg in which the main character – Spider- suffers from schizophrenia. The film documents Spider as he attempts to come to terms with his past, as he remembers it, as he submerges himself into a fantasy world of memories that at time must be fictionalised (as he wasn’t even there for the events that take place). The film adheres accurately to my research in terms of the symptoms of Spider himself, with everything feeding into his delusions which are concrete and factual to him, as well as his other paranoid tendencies and difficulty to distinguish differences between female roles in his life.

used at one point during the film, or to pass through the room. But Spider mostly keeps to the edges of the walls when traversing the space.


However although his (possibly fictional) accounts of past are interesting, the main aspect of the film I observed was his interactions with his environment within his plain drab bedroom. Figures 8 & 9 denote Spider’s movement throughout the room during the course of the movie. As shown the movement is irregular and repetitive, he pays particular attention to private hidden spaces that he believes to be secure and safe. A response to the constant monitoring and feeling of lack of trust given to him by the building and the carer working within perhaps? Spider has a tendency to hide objects, especially his treasured notebook, around the peripheries of the space in places such as under the bed or under a rug in the corner and completely neglects the use of furniture, such as the chest of drawers, housed within the space. The central floor space within the room is only noted to be

Fig 8 54

Left Hand Position Marker

Right Hand Position Marker Central Body Position Marker

Body Movement Path

Limb Movement Path

Spider Movement Plan Plan documenting the interactions between Spider and his bedroom throughout the course of the film


Fig 9 Spider Movement Diagram Diagram documenting the interactions between Spider and his bedroom throughout the course of the film in 3d space

Froth A short film I made to use as inspiration


for a character for this project. The character, Morgan, becomes obsessed with his consumption of coffee throughout his everyday life. He begins to hallucinate and becomes delusional imaging that a coffee cup is talking to him and is responsible for the death of his friend. He has periods of blacking out and memory loss and psychologically projects his inner delusions in the form of repetitive infantile hand drawings.


Stills from film Froth


Stills from film Froth

Old Boy Another film that depicts an interesting interaction between a character and their

surrounding environment is entitled Old Boy (2003). Old Boy is the story of a man taken from his existing life and held captive in a single room, with no outside interaction for 12 years. The protagonist has no interaction with people, no view of the outside, not even the feeling of fresh air. His only connection is that of old television programs he is played in his solitary confinement. He is unaware of his captor and the reason for his imprisonment.


Understandably he begins to go slowly mad in a response to this environment and conditions as people are predisposed to react to the environment that they are placed within; for example “a patient is only likely to resort to ‘apsophilic activities, touching the staff and painting the walls with faeces’ when left with no other more acceptable sensory gratification” (Golembiewski, 2010, p.112). He begins talking to himself and seeing things in the patterns of the wallpaper as his mind strives to entertain itself and find information and reasoning where there is nothing. The film serves as an interesting insight into how someone may act and respond to this kind of environment.

Guardians A short film I made and am using as an inspiration for a character for this project.


The character Clive with the vigilante alias of the Toolman again suffers from delusions. He believes himself to be a force of good and an upholder of peace and justice; believes himself to be a super hero. He endeavours to solve and fight crimes but instead he imagines crimes where there are none and constantly flicks between the side of good and bad with no measure of control.


Stills from film Guardians


Stills from film Guardians

Film focuses on characters and their reactions and interactions within space and in this instance architecture can be defined as an influence of the characters. However architecture houses events and experiences within film. Architecture can be used as another character within a film to help set scenes using already existing metaphors to impose a certain feeling or knowledge of an area. It can be used to define a character using these metaphors also as buildings can “tell you about the characters that inhabit them before they appear on screen” (Jacobs, 2007, p.11). Film architecture is just as much about designing experiences and spaces to house interactions and similarities can be drawn between architectural design for film and for schizophrenic patients. As previously stated the schizophrenic patient focuses on the contents or function of the room not the general aesthetics as “in film architecture, use and meaning rather than form are given priority” (Jacobs, 2007, p.10). With advancements in film such as the steady cam rig, filmmakers became able to follow characters through a space and document interactions between humans and the spaces they inhabit. The characters can be filmed on a more one to one basis with their environment. The different characters and observations within their environment can be inputted into design. “There is no architecture

without action, no architecture without event, no architecture without program” (Tschumi, 1976). Without the action that takes place within there is no architecture and films supply this insight for the designer. Another benefit in the inclusion of filming into the design process, of which I have experienced first hand, is the change in design method it may make in terms of criticality. I have found when editing and designing film, each frame counts, it has taught me to be more precise and critical in my work style. I liked to think I was previously but after making films I have shown myself that I wasn’t as critical as I would have liked to presume. There is something about the nature of crafting a film that has developed my nature to critique my own work, and if this practice is not just limited to myself, then I would encourage any architect or designer full stop to at least try to create a film for themselves to benefit any work they may do after. Another possible benefit in considering films into the architectural design process is the fact that the budget of the average Hollywood film can far surpass many standard construction projects, with film budgets being in the hundreds of millions. Therefore film productions are able to afford to acquire the very best in creative, design and visualisation abilities, far more than any architectural research project. Hence ideas put forward and ‘tested’ in films can be more creative and revolutionary and although fictional, they can be used (at times) as a fair representation of what may happen in these fantastical situations. If more collaboration between architect and film designer were to be

made then film could test some architectural theories on a higher scale and budget than the average architecture research project. Films are sets, they are fragmented views of a space that are necessary for the audience to believe the environment and the character’s interactions with and inside the space: If one to design from film, fragmental spaces would likely be the outcome. If a designer was to take a perspective from a film, or all views of a certain room within a film, then the likely hood would be with most films that room or building fragments would become the outcome: The necessary parts of the space to tell the story of the film, the elements that set the scene and that the character interacts with. Maybe designing from film promotes inclusion of only the most necessary elements of design. Stephen Jacobs uses this method in Fig. 10 in which he has developed a plan from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds only using information displayed on screen. The result is an unfinished plan with only the spaces that the characters have visited necessary for the narrative being developed. A similar method is employed in this work by Steve Holl Fig. 11 in which he takes perspective views of a space or architecture and develops floor plans only on what he can observe from that image. Fig. 12 then shows an exercise in which these perspective snippets of design are placed within a building and how this may affect the arrangement of the space and the surrounding: How the relationship between the space and its surrounding environment alters if it is placed above on or below ground in various arrangements.


Film and Architecture

What are the benefits of using film in design of architecture, or more specifically the design of architecture for the mentally ill?


In my design I wish to try and draw from, develop and combine all of the above methodologies and knowledge about film and schizophrenia to develop a space that is helpful, stimulating and original for schizophrenic patients.


Fig 10 Jacobs, S., 2007. The Wrong House: The Architecture of Alfred Hitchcock. Plan from film The Birds [Plan drawing]

Fig 11 66

Ito, T., 1993. G A Architect. Plans from Images by Steven Holl. [Drawings]


Fig 12 Ito, T., 1993. G A Architect. Spacial arrangements by Steven Holl. [Drawings]

Project 2: Reconstructing In Rehabilitation

Brief This project brief is to design a rehabilitation centre for a selection of recovering schizophrenia patients as they transfer from a more institutional environment and integrate themselves successfully back into society. The building is designed to house 5 characters that have emerged from films and research throughout the course of my dissertation:

Old boy: The main character from the

film Old boy: He has been detained in a small enclosed room for 12 years for no reason and as a response to his environment developed a form of paranoid psychosis.

character from the novel the yellow wallpaper whose illness manifests itself in the form of hallucinations of a character behind the pattern of the wallpaper in her room. The building will contain private living spaces that respond to the individuals inhabiting them and social space that encourage interaction with the environment and other patients but do not force it. The architecture must: -Remind a patient there is meaning in life -Be beautiful enough to evoke joy and happiness -Be generously finished -Be full of natural beauty and positive symbolism

Spider: the main character from the

Provisions for inclusion of such other spaces helpful to the patient like living areas for pets for example should be made.

Ollie/The Tool Man: From my short

The still image screen play-esque methodology used in Assembling the Derailed will be adopted with perspective inspirational filmic like images being first designed to define the feeling and special qualities of a room with the building and rooms then designed from these images.

film, Spider, suffers from an inability to organise and rationalise his memories, he is possibly delusional and has difficulties with distinguishing between various characters in his life.

film Guardians: Suffers from delusions and believes himself to be a super hero and is delusional in seeing crime where there is none and therefore attacks innocent people believe them to be “super villains�.

Morgan: From my short film Froth: Suffers

from hallucinations and delusions coupled with blackouts. He projects his inner turmoil onto the form of an inanimate object.


Lady from Yellow Wallpaper: Main

The Site: Situated in the borough of Lambeth in the city of London, UK. The site is a fictional recreation of the half way house from the film Spider.


The site will consist of seven of the row of terraced buildings rather than just a single one from the film to allow for enough space to design the spaces for each patient.

The site is actually a combination of the Pullens buildings and the Kennington gas towers.


The fictional site is located at the position of the Pullens buildings.

n gto

Pen t



nin Ken



Rd Par k Ken nin gto n

Kennington Rd


Pegasus Pl St

Kennington Gas Towers Approx. 1 mile from fictional position opposite halfway house

The two individual sites are actually approximately 2 miles apart.



t Clay

External shots filmed at Pullens Buildings Some of the last Victorian tenement buildings in London

Spider’s Bedroom

View From Window


Kennington Gas Towers

Pullens Buildings

Recreation of half way house from Spider


The recreated site extents, expanded to incorporate seven of the terraced buildings.

Old Boys’ Accommodation: Designed by creating film like stills to create atmosphere and spatial relationships and then developed into an actual space. Old Boy begins by inhabiting the space that is a recreation of his prison room. He is then allowed to leave by his own accord and transfer to the room designed to be more beneficial to his psyche.


The theory is that he has been confined to his room for 12 years and sudden separation may be detrimental so the gradual transition at his own pace allows him to make the move himself.

Recreation of prison room from Old Boy

The space between the prison room and free room is the bird garden. Old Boy will find himself surrounded by song birds and greenery as he makes his transition.


Interaction with animals and nature is encouraged with schizophrenic patients and specific to Old Boy the birds will help enforce images and metaphors of freedom after his imprisonment.


View AA: Internal Atmospheric


View BB: Internal Atmospheric

His shower room overlooking the rooftops of London at the back of the building. The bath water is at the same level as the water within the micro climate ahead of it. The water from the bath and micro climate are separated by glass and the plants and fish within can be viewed whilst bathing.


This further interacts Old Boy with nature and the image of freedom and tranquillity.

View CC: Internal Atmospheric


Free Room

Prison Room

Bird House Terrace Sketch


Access from main building



C Shower


B Living Area

B Garden Bedroom


The garden access to his bedroom forces his to step outside into nature and freedom every time he goes to bed. Reminding him of his freedom.

Plan of Old boys’ Free Room

Morgans’ Accommodation: Morgan has an obsession with coffee detrimental to his mental wellbeing. This room is designed to take his mind off of this gradually by introducing him to the grow and harvesting process of tea. He is surrounded by plants he maintains harvests and then drys to make into tea for himself.


In doing this he controls and is responsible for his environment.


Harvested tea is dried on the rack and then when ready stored in the tea jars and later used.


The waterfall serves to reconnect Morgan back with nature and is full of positive inherent symbolism.


The views are combined to create Morgan’s tea growing room. Orthographic View of Morgan’s Room


Spider’s Private Garden


Contours of Spider’s Private Garden

Spider’s recreation room allows him to recreate various memories from his past to help him order his thoughts and also to benefit from Freud’s theories on remembrance of traumas. The objects and scenery are suspended from the ceiling on a web like system which spider himself can operate via a system of pulleys. The web control caters to his spider fixation and helps him to feel in control and safe with his environment.


He can lower required scenery and arrange it into the correct scene for him to relive memories.

Spiders’ collection library provides a space for objects he finds and scavenges and deems to be important. This space is private to him but exposes his collections to him and is intended to not only help him order thoughts and memories but also highlight the degree at which he collects and expose it to himself.


Web above is for him to clip various written memories and notes in an attempt to organise and record his past.


Materiality of Library Door Handles

Accommodation for the Lady from The Yellow Wallpaper: The space is designed to help the character to get over her postpartum depression and give control of her environment back to her. When she initially enters the space she can experience her baby by sound and indirect sight via a mirror system showing her baby on the other side of the wall whilst a nurse looks after it. Once ready she can move the walls and reconnect with he child as she can handle.


The other walls in the room can also be manipulated in order for her to alter and remain in control of her environment.

Day: Access to baby. Nurse quarters closed off

Night: With access to baby

Day: Access to baby. Bedroom sealed off

Possible Room Layouts


Day: Nurse access to baby


Clive as he sees himself

Clive’s Accommodation: Clive believes himself to be a super hero. This space, coupled with the workshop next door, allows him to safely live out fantasies and experience memories by constructing comic book scenes for him to inhabit.

Clive’s Lair


The process of constructing the environments and adjusting his landscape is beneficial to his recovery.


Clive’s Lair


Clive’s Lair internal view

Main Social Space: The main social spaces are designed for the use of all characters. The downstairs living room style spaces are designed with provisions for larger social interactions or more intimate interactions if the patients feel overwhelmed. The upstairs houses cooking spaces for patients to entertain family and friends and create their own meals with supervision is necessary.


The spaces are punctuated by nature with the waterfall cascading in the back corner and tree growing through the stairwell.


Social space internal view


Fourth Floor

Second Floor




First Floor


Ground Floor

Overall Plan of Entire Building Used


Overall Section of Entire Building Used


Section pt.1


Section pt.2


Spider’s Bedroom

Spider’s Bedroom

Entrance 2

Clive’s Bedroom

Nurse’s Room

Lady From Yellow Wallpaper’s Room

Entrance To Bird Garden

Spider’s library

Spider’s library

Entrance 1

Spider’s Recreation


Spider’s Garden

Spider’s Recreation

Spider’s Garden




Plan: Ground and First pt.1


Plan: Ground and First pt.2 Kitchens

Main Garden

Main Garden

Entrance 3

Living Rooms

Entrance 3

Clive’s Workshop


Spider’s Garden

Spider’s Recreation


Bird Garden

Spider’s Garden

Spider’s Recreation


Bird Garden


Plan : Second and Third pt. 1


Plan: Second and Third pt. 2 Roof terrace and fish pond

Dye drying and processing room

Main Garden

Art Room

Main Garden

Old Boy’s Free Room

Morgan’s Spare room

Morgan’s Tea Room

Old Boy’s Prison Room

Main Garden: The main garden houses a green wall full of different coloured plants used in the making of traditional paints and dyes. The wall is climbable and patients are encouraged to climb the wall to harvest flowers and maintain the wall. The flowers can then be processed into natural paints and used in the arts room. This process and connection with nature is helpful to the patients.


The are flower beds on the ground for any patients wishing to participate but are afraid of heights.

Plan : Second and Third pt. 1

some of my design development throughout the course of design ranging from the initial design pin ups to any unused ideas concepts.

Initial Design Presentation: Slide 1 of 5


Development Work

The following pages documents


Initial Design Presentation: Slide 2 of 5


Initial Design Presentation: Slide 3 of 5


Initial Design Presentation: Slide 4 of 5


Initial Design Presentation: Slide 5 of 5


Second Design Presentation: Slide 1 of 3


Second Design Presentation: Slide 2 of 3


Second Design Presentation: Slide 3 of 3


Crit Display Concept Image


Crit Display

Initial Form Concept:

Extents of Spider Movement plan


This initial form concept was derived from the movements spider made around his room, translated into a floor plan and 3D form.


Movements translated into 3D form first floor


Movements translated into 3D form second floor


Movements translated into 3D: visualisations


Examples of design sketching


Initial design section


Initial Render of living spaces


In conclusion, following the finishing of my design research and

helped me design a sense of awe, which is the most beneficial for a schizophrenic patient, as creating images with a cinematic quality first and then attempting to match that quality in design I believe was an effective method.

Firstly the filmic method I adopted for design, in which you create a selection of images forming a screen play first then design the space, yielded some interesting results. Using this method of design made me seriously consider for example materiality and the way light affects a space in detail initially. The production of these images first rather than at the end of the design process doesn’t quite turn the process on its head, as you have an idea of the space being designed as you make the image, but it does alter it. It makes me take into account the atmospherics of a space more, and also gave me more of an insight into the experience of the design from the eye level and scale of the user inhabiting it (as the still we supposed to represent views from the eyes of the users).

Designing a room around a patient or process beneficial to a patient could be mentally helpful as well as encouraging interesting designs, but may not be practical in reality. However some of the less specific process could be incorporated, such as the green climbing wall for dye colouring harvesting, to help encourage patients and keep them stimulated.

the testing of theories in my final research project, I have discovered a few points I would discuss:


I believe this design process could be beneficial in design for schizophrenia patients as not only does it help making sure the atmospherics, lighting and materiality are favourable for a schizophrenic user; but it also made me concentrate on the process within the room more thoroughly. As previous stated schizophrenics are more concerned with the process within a space rather than the architectural space itself and therefore creating these images which concentrated on the contents of the space and processes within, helps me to design to cater to the patients and consider the use of the space for the process it contains better. Also this method

I also believe that through the design process I may have implemented and encouraged the interaction with nature in new interesting ways that may have not yet been considered in schizophrenic design: such as forcing the Old Boy character outside briefly in order to get to bed, or the waterfall that cuts through the heart of the building and the various voids cut through the building and filled with gardens and trees. One possible draw back I personally found in adopting this method of design was the fragmental nature of the design I found since I was designing for each character that the design changed throughout and wasn’t coherent with itself. There was no underlying theme, other than the inclusion of nature and green spaces. This wasn’t a problem for this project and it actually created interesting interactions with spaces but I imagine it could be for others perhaps.

So in conclusion I feel that this design method could be very beneficial in design for schizophrenia patients, it has yet to be adopted, and the use of it could increase the benefit of architecture on the mentally ill. I believe I have found a gap in design research that was beneficial to pursue. This is speculation of course as the architecture would need to be tested by real patients, but following the fact that my design correlates well with my research then it stands to reason that the architecture should be beneficial. Furthermore I believe that this perspective view design process could be employed to great effect with other buildings. I also believe that the use of film for inspirations on characters and location was very useful in my project as it allowed me to create interesting processes and spaces that enclose them. I believe that film could be used to inspire radical new architectural designs or if grounded and realistic enough film characters could serve to influence and fuel more everyday designs and help the design arrive at more interesting results.



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McDaniel Will  

A Warped Lens: How schizophrenia & Film can influence architectural design