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Does Architecture Have A Role To Play In Understanding Mental Health?

‘Archiatric’ by Italian illustrator Federico Babina demonstrates what it’s like to live with mental illness through the lens of architecture.


February 22nd, 2017

To talk about the history of art and architecture is to talk about the history of the tortured genius – a painter, poet, artist, musician or architect so driven by brilliance, yet weighed down behind closed doors from psychological illness. This story is often one of romanticisation; a mind so talented it can’t deal with the humdrum of the day-to-day, yet the reality is never quite so idealistic, as Italian illustrator Federico Babina has explored.

Through his latest visual series Archiatric, Babina has delved into the relationship between creativity and mental health, through the familiar lens of architecture. Comprising an animated video, below, and the above collection of images, the series interprets various mental states and psychological illnesses through architectural design.

The images are striking, arresting and at time claustrophobic and confronting, as a way of trying to articulate the frame of mind for the damaged psyche, “In this series of images, I make an abstract exercise of translating one language to another.” Babina says.

“It is quite true that architecture and the spaces that we live in influence our behaviour and psychopathology,” Babina continues, “Archiatric gives an architectural and artistic voice to emotional states and disorders like anxiety, depression, dementia and paranoia, drawing attention to their relationship to creative people.

“I don’t want to put a romantic aura around the discomfort and suffering of mental illness but rather to make a reflection on the prejudices and negative stigmas with which the pathologies of the mind are often observed.”


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