Imperfect Health / Giovanna Borasi & Mirko Zardini

  • 20 Mar 2012
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  • Publications

Get Fit. Lose Weight. Be a Better YOU.

Slogans like these constantly inundate us across media sources, and the premise is always the same: a healthy body is sexy, desirable, better. The opposite is similarly true: if you’re fat or obese,  you aren’t just unhealthy, you’re sick. You need to be ‘cured.’

This moralization of “healthy” is symptomatic of a greater obsession and anxiety over our health in general, an obsession that has led to what Giovanni Borasi and Mirko Zardini, editors of Imperfect Health, call “medicalization; a process in which ordinary problems are defined in medical terms and understood through a medical framework” (15). The book has been published by the Canadian Center for Architecture with Lars Müller Publishers, and it is part of an exhibit accompanied by an online TV channel.

This process has similarly formed a concept that design and architecture are tools for healthiness and well-being; hence the proliferation of Green built environments that supposedly (1) recuperate nature from dastardly human deeds and (2) “craft a body that is ideal or at least in good health, apparently re-naturalized or better yet, embedded in nature” (19). Just think of the NYC High Line‘s recuperation of land left “damaged” by technology, a vastly popular project that motivates the human body to walk, run, and play in nature rather than sit sedentarily (unhealthily) in a toxin-emitting vehicle.

But is this idea itself a healthy way to conceptualize of Architecture? Is this goal of “healthiness” even possible to attain?

More on Imperfect Health after the break.

The book, a collection of essays, photographs, and informative blurbs (each distinguished in the table of contents by groupings of key words – from asthma and allergies to longevity and retirement), is a visually-engaging, comprehensive study of the history of the medicalization of architecture. The book tracks how the 20th century notion of the city has changed from that of a “sick body” that infects  its citizens to the 21st century idea of the city as a therapeutic instrument that ‘cures’ its citizens.

Ultimately, Borasi and Zardini argue that this concept is misguided in its impossibility and moralism. What is needed in our society is the demedicalization of architecture: to place it outside of the moralism of medicalized discourse and shift the role of architecture from that which cures, to that which cares.

The book, published by the Canadian Centre for Architecture () and Lars Müller Publishers, springs from the CCA’s current exhibition in Montreal, Imperfect Health: The Medicalization of Architecture, on view until 15 April, 2012. The information is similarly supplemented by a website, a microsite (called Imperfect TV), and an e-book.

 

 

Contents

004 miasmas; sanitation; green lungs

015 DEMEDCALIZE ARCHITECTURE

038 trees; pollen; allergy and asthma free

054 biodiversity; green façade; vertical farming

066 forest; nature

082 ventilation; light, air, sun

090 pollution; air cleaners; filtration

097 ALLERGIC LANDSCAPES, BUILT ENVIRONMENTS AND HUMAN HEALTH

117 A THEORY OF POLLUTION FOR ARCHITECTURE

133 STRANGE BEDFELLOWS: MODERNISM AND TUBERCULOSIS

152 asthma; dust

164 allergy; emission-free

168 bacteria; remediation; industrial landscape

182 asbestos; UV rays

190 cancer; healing machine; placebo; radiation

200 e-waste; garbage; restorative environments

212 food; animals; disease

224 drugs; quarantine; epidemics

231 EMERGENCY URBANISM AND PREVENTIVE ARCHITECTURE

251 YOUR CITY YOURSELF

267 ARCHITECTURE AS INFRASTRUCTURE FOR INTERACTIVITY: THE NEED FOR DESIRE

292 social interaction; stair; walking

304 body; obesity; nutrition

318 age segregation; retirement

336 adaptation; longevity; garden

347 GEROTOPIAS

365 SUNBATHING IN SUBURBIA: HEALTH, FASHION, AND THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT

384 sarcophagi; unlimited life

387 Biographies

388 Index of names

390 Copyrights

392 Acknowledgements

394 dark skyes

 

 

 

 

 

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Lars Muller (February 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 303778279X
  • ISBN-13: 978-3037782798

 

Cite: Quirk, Vanessa. "Imperfect Health / Giovanna Borasi & Mirko Zardini" 20 Mar 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 20 Dec 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=218162>
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