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Firm Principal, Alice Liang offers her views on Christopher Payne's book "Asylum" in the World Health Design Journal

In the April 2011 issue of the journal, Alice discusses "Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Health Hospitals".  The book provides a powerful and haunting photographic exploration of the history of mental healthcare.

"Seen through Payne's eyes as an architect, the evocative photos of sunlit and silenced corridors, abandoned personal belongings, courtyard gardens overgrown with ivy, the cage-like enclosure on the forensic ward and the unclaimed urns of ashes on shelves - a world closed within the walls of these grand and stately institutions - compel one to ask: what went on and what went wrong?

From an architectural perspective, the historic pendulum-swing in clinical treatment approach to mental disorder has been met with "reactionary" and ever-changing design solutions over the last two centuries.  The poignancy of Payne's eerily beautiful documentation speaks volumes about the lessons we can learn from the era gone-by." 

 

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